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Corner Chronicles: May 2, 2021 - May 8, 2021

Here’s what happened this week in Cleveland baseball

Welcome to the Corner Chronicles — a weekly dive into what happened this week in Cleveland baseball, from the deep dingers to the decisions that shape the team.

From third in the AL Central to leading the division, to sweeping the Royals, to being no-hit by Wade Miley, to scoring nine runs on a chilly Saturday afternoon ... what a week for Cleveland baseball.

Cleveland tagged out of beating on the Royals Friday and the White Sox tagged in on Saturday, defeating the former AL Central leaders, 9-1. Currently, Cleveland sits half a game back from Chicago with an eye on everything finally starting to come together.

It’s hard not to be excited about a 6-1 week of baseball, but being no-hit as your only loss sure stings. Still, I think it’s OK to be excited about where this team is, overall. The pitching staff, from the rotation to the bullpen, is as advertised and the offense is showing some of its potential (as long as it’s not facing Wide Miley, of course).

We saw Nick Sandlin come up and make an immediate impact with his unique sidearm delivery, Zach Plesac pitch a scoreless 13.2 innings, and Triston McKenzie bounce back to pitch five good innings. We watched a team with its ace on the ropes bust out a gritty win over a division opponent, and a charge back to a winning record.

We watched Ángel Hernández just kinda wing it.

In the last week, even with being no-hit, seven Cleveland batters finished with a wRC+ of 108 or higher. Some in limited action, but José Ramírez, Cesar Hernandez, Eddie Rosario, Josh Naylor, Franmil Reyes, and Jake Bauers all did it as regulars in the lineup over the last seven games. And that includes a game where none of them registered a hit.

A lot happened in the last week, let’s review it all.

Swing And A Scoreboard

Sunday, May 2: Cleveland 5, White Sox 0
Cleveland clawed their way back to .500 after a slow start to the season as Zach Plesac, Bryan, James Karinchak, and Emmanuel Clase combined to pitch a four-hit shutout. Daniel Johnson made his second start of the season in the outfield and earned a Platinum Sombrero with five strikeouts in five at-bats.

Monday, May 3: Cleveland 8, Royals 6
The four-game series against Kansas City started on a high note with an 8-6 win. Harold Ramirez made his Cleveland debut and doubled immediately, José Ramírez and Cesar Hernandez combined for five walks, and Josh Naylor hit this beauty of a home run that narrowly escaped Kauffman Stadium’s outfield.

Tuesday, May 4: Cleveland 7, Royals 3
It only his second game, Harold Ramirez made his presence known and Jake Bauers hit a mammoth home run when he pinch-hit for Yu Chang in the eighth inning. Cleveland ended the game on a double play started by Bauers as the outfield celebrated with a group hug.

Wednesday, May 5: Cleveland 5, Royals 4
Unlike days where they are no hit — to bring up a completely random example — Cleveland had nothing working on Wednesday and still managed to win. They came from behind to win their first one-run game of the season thanks to a gutsy performance from Shane Bieber and homers from José Ramírez and Josh Naylor. The rough defense that Cleveland has experienced lately was at its worst here. But, again, they still managed to win.

Thursday, May 6: Cleveland 4, Royals 0
The sweep of the Royals and retaking of the American League Central was completed Thursday. With Cleveland’s 4-0 win over the former division leaders, they grabbed a share of first place. Triston McKenzie bounced back from a rough outing to pitch five shutout innings. He walked four, struck out five, and set up Nick Sandlin, James Karinchak, and Emmanuel Clase to slam the door on the slumping Royals. Backup catcher René Rivera, making his debut with Cleveland, went 3-for-4

Friday, May 7: Cleveland 0, Reds 3
After all the goodwill generated by a winning streak, Cleveland responded to their newfound division lead by ... getting no-hit by Wade Miley. A brief delay meant that the game didn’t start until 8:30 p.m. local time, and the wet and dedicated fans who stayed were treated to one of the flattest offensive performances since the last time the team was no-hit less than a month ago. You can’t even blame the deadened ball for this one — Cleveland batters just could not square Miley’s off-speed stuff up. Zach Plesac battled, eclipsing 100 pitches and leaving it up to the bullpen. A bullpen that promptly blew it in the top of the ninth.

Saturday, May 8: Cleveland 9, Reds 2
Cleveland responded to being no-hit by doing something they haven’t done in a while: hit a bunch of changeups. The lineup, led by Jake Bauers and Josh Naylor, racked up nine runs off Luis Castillo and the Reds bullpen. Aaron Civale pitched seven innings while Cal Quantrill and Nick Wittgren worked their way through the final two innings. Maybe the most amazing thing about Saturday night’s game was this diving stop by Andrés Giménez.

Corner Clippings: The News That Mattered

Three Big Things

Jake Bauers, 425 feet
Jake Bauers hit this absolute bomb off Tyler Zuber on Tuesday, It was Bauers’ second pinch-hit home run as a member of Cleveland and his first of 2021. It traveled 425 feet as the longest homer of the week.

Franmil Reyes, 414 feet
It was a relatively quiet week for Franmil Reyes, but this 414-foot blast sure was loud. The homer, Franmil’s eighth of the season, extended Cleveland’s lead to 4-0 late in Thursday’s win over the Royals. It was also his first long ball since his two-homer game against the Twins on April 27.

Cesar Hernandez, 408 feet
Cesar Hernandez’s third-inning homer off of Lucas Giolito set the stage for Cleveland’s eventual win over the White Sox. He did the unthinkable and hit a changeup, giving Cleveland a 1-0 lead that they would quickly expand as the game went on. The 408-foot shot was Cesar’s longest of the year and his first since April 10 against the Tigers.

What They Said: Best Comments Of The Week

”Too soon to give TVB credit for turning Rene Rivera into peak Buster Posey?” - xrickx

“Let ‘em eat Ks.” - YoDaddyWags