Sunday night featured a glimpse at what this season could look like for the Cleveland Guardians, who beat the Oakland A’s 7-3 to close out the sweep.
The Cleveland Guardians last 6 series 😃😱
Swept by Giants
Swept White Sox
Swept by Yankees
Swept by Angels
Swept A’s pic.twitter.com/T6Zh51QlXf
— McNeil (@Reflog_18) May 1, 2022
The bats worked; not only did they work, but they consistently drove runners home.
But the man of the evening was pitcher Triston McKenzie.
The Brooklyn native pitched six and a third excellent innings.
He finished the game with four hits, one walk, seven strikeouts, and not a single earned run.
In fact, he only gave up a single extra-base hit.
And that one, a double, didn’t come until the seventh inning, and ended up being the last batter McKenzie faced on the day.
Up to that point, McKenzie had been in a groove.
After walking A’s Sheldon Neuse in the third, McKenzie retired 11 of the next 12 batters.
His best stretch came during the fourth and fifth innings, when McKenzie struck out four straight batters.
McKenzie kept things simple in his summation of the game:
“For me to be successful, a lot of it is mixing my pitches up and keeping guys guessing. We stuck to the game plan really well today.”
It wasn’t always perfect from McKenzie.
He did let a few pitches go, struggling to find the strike zone, but he pulled it back together, per Manager Terry Francona:
“He didn’t give up much. There were times where he lost the strike zone, but he reeled it back in in a hurry, as opposed to 3-4 hitters.”
Oakland’s three runs came in the bottom of the ninth.
RP Anthony Gose gave up two RBI doubles and a sacrifice fly to make things just interesting enough for Francona to call up Trevor Stephen to the mound.
Stephen stopped the bleeding and closed things out for the Guardians, saving McKenize’s outing (which was never really in jeopardy).
McKenzie made his debut for Cleveland in 2020, part of late fall call-ups from the minors.
Through just over 23 innings this season, McKenzie is 1-2 with a 2.70 ERA.
Not terrible, and hopefully his outing Sunday is a sign of what’s to come.
As previously noted, the bats were also a huge part of the game.
Steven Kwan notched a hit and accounted for two runs.
José Ramirez, for his part, notched a hit and two walks.
But the best sign came down the lineup.
Franmil Reyes finally caught up to the team bus.
In five plate appearances, Reyes recorded two RBIs.
After being dropped in the lineup for the middle game in Oakland, Reyes returned.
And he finally showed some much-needed signs of life.
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) May 1, 2022
The Guardians have the night off before returning to Cleveland for a five-game stint.
In the first two games, Cleveland will square off against the NL West’s San Diego Padres.
In the second series, the Guardians face the AL East’s Toronto Blue Jays.
Both opponents will be a test of the Guardians’ potential; the two teams are both 15-8 and sit second in their respective divisions.
Let’s hope Franmil Reyes’ numbers from Sunday carry over and Ramirez, Kwan, and Co. don’t lose steam either.