Everyone from the starting pitcher on down contributed in a major way to Cleveland’s 10-3 blowout this afternoon, concluding a much-needed sweep of the Orioles. I believe this in the industry is what they call a “team win.”
Eli Morgan’s sophomore showing was much better than his debut, though there’s still some work to do be done. He struck out five batters in his 3.2 innings of work and didn’t walk any. A solo homer in the second and a plunking of Freddy Galvis in the third were Morgan’s only real issues through the first three innings — and that was after he took a comebacker off the elbow in the second at-bat of the game.
Even with the noisy bases that he allowed in the fourth inning — including another home run, a double, another hit-by-pitch, and the other double ultimately knocked him out of the game — it was a solid good-weather debut for Morgan, results-wise. As for what he threw, I don’t know how effective the changeups over the heart of the plate are going to be against other lineups, and I don’t know how many batters are going to swing at fastballs a foot above the zone.
Morgan’s changeup isn’t quite showing the elite results he’s had as a minor-leaguer, but he was still able to induce two whiffs on eight swings, even while he wasn’t locating it with perfect precision. Its late movement was enough to fool a couple of batters. I have a feeling his first-pitch fastballs, which often sailed at a cool 89 mph dead-center over the plate, will be hammered by teams eventually.
He wasn’t perfect, but if you can come away with a win and still have things to learn as a guy making his second start, you’re in a good position.
Offensively, it was an all-around explosion for Cleveland. Every batter registered at least one hit, led by Josh Naylor, Yu Chang, and newcomer Ryan Lavarnway each adding a pair. It feels unfair to just throw Chang in a list of two-hit games, though, because his was extra special as it included an absolute bomb of a homer — just his second of the season and third of his career. He also hustled down the line to narrowly avoid a double play at one point and would come around to score as Ernie Clement’s first-career RBI a batter later.
José Ramírez was, naturally, the one to start the scoring with a two-run homer in the first inning. Bobby Bradley followed up two batters later with a ball that narrowly made it over the wall with a little help from a fan. It would have been a homer regardless, but we might have been left with another scenario of “did that ball hit the top of the yellow line and bounce back into play, or did it hit the glass behind the wall then bounce back into play?” if that fan didn’t catch it. Bless him.
Eddie Rosario’s only hit on the day was a big one: a solo shot in the third inning that was roughly his bazillionth in Progressive Field, but his first as a member of the team.
Most importantly, today’s win completes a sweep of the Orioles when Cleveland needed it most. Upon receiving word that their ace will be out until at least July, potentially until the All-Star break, they responded by outscoring their opponents 29-15 over a four-game set. Granted, it’s the Orioles, but they’ve been whooped by them multiple times in the past. Nothing in baseball is guaranteed, but the wins are always earned. And Cleveland earned these.