That one hurt.
What should have been a winnable game for the Cleveland Guardians against the Cincinnati Reds turned into a total stinker.
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) May 18, 2022
The Guardians dropped the first of a two-game series to Cincinnati 5-4.
The Reds received key contributions from the middle and back-end of their lineup.
In addition, the Cincinnati squad was aided by another quiet offensive night for Cleveland–the Guardians managed only five hits.
That’s five hits and four runs against a Reds team that has the league’s worst ERA (5.96), WHIP (1.53), and third-worst OBA (.262).
Let’s take a look at some studs and duds from Tuesday’s contest:
Dud: Steven Kwan
Steven Kwan was electric out of the gate this season.
He turned into a fun story for not just the Guardians, but baseball writ large.
Whenever the team needed a hit or spark, Kwan was seemingly there to provide.
Lately, though, Kwan has been missing.
Against the Reds on Tuesday, Kwan was silent through four at-bats, picking up a lone walk.
It was yet another no-show from Kwan.
Through his last seven games, Kwan is slashing a weak .143/.250/.179.
That’s not going to cut it.
And more importantly, that’s not the Kwan that fans fell in love with at the start of the season.
It’s been a tale of two months; in April, Kwan was .353.
So far in May, that number has bottomed out at .192.
We were showered with hits in April; now Kwan is just picking flowers in the outfield.
The truth is, Kwan is probably neither the .353 hitter from April, nor the .192 hitter in May.
What we’ve seen are two extremes–his day-to-day is probably somewhere in the middle.
Which, in fairness, isn’t an awful place to be.
It’s just not what we’ve come to expect from Kwan.
Stud(s): Owen Miller/Myles Straw
While the offense generally struggled to get going, Owen Miller tried to will this team to victory a la Josh Naylor a week ago.
Down two in the bottom of the ninth, Miller crushed a longball, tying the game and sending it to extras.
Huge home run for Owen Miller. He tied the score in Cleveland with a two-run homer. @CLEGuardians.
— Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff) May 18, 2022
Miller also found a way to the bases earlier in the game, earning a walk
Myles Straw, for his part, recorded a walk and two RBIs, the first off a sacrifice fly and the second on an eighth-inning single.
And that…was…pretty much it offensively.
To the team’s credit, the Guardians kept pace with the Reds all night long, generally tying the game after the Reds would take the lead in the top of the inning.
But there were several concerning signs from this game on offense.
More on that next.
Dud: The Offense
The pitching (for the most part) held up Tuesday.
Aside from a rough walk in the tenth inning that brought home Cincinnati’s go-ahead run, the pitching corps did its job to keep the game close.
Unfortunately, the offense, yet again, was nowhere to be found.
Kudos to the Guardians for keeping things close.
But “close” wasn’t matching an eight or nine-run from the Reds.
It was matching four runs.
And apparently five was too many.
Strangely, the hits also didn’t come through.
Generally, this team has managed to hit in bunches, but sometimes failed to make the most of baserunners.
Tuesday, Cleveland managed only five hits.
Hopefully, it was just an off night; teams are indeed allowed to have those.
But not against the Reds.