While the White Sox and Yankees prepare to play a movie-themed version of baseball in a field adjacent to — but not directly from — Field of Dreams, the Cleveland Guardians played regular old baseball at Progressive Field this afternoon. It didn’t go well.
You can set your watch by at least one facet of the game going wrong for this team every day, and this time around it was essentially all of them. Starting pitching, relief pitching, defense, offense, basic managerial decision making — you name it. If it happens on a field, they struggled with it today.
For starters, Eli Morgan didn’t look sharp. He tried to work in his slider early on — potentially setting himself up to throw more changeups later in the game — but he missed with it several times against his first handful of opponents. In the end, he induced just two swinging strikes on the 18 times he threw it.
Morgan never really got a chance to lean into his changeup, but it wasn’t very effective either. Of the 14 times he threw it, eight were swung at, and it was missed just once. Four of the 15 balls that Oakland batters put into play against him came off his changeup, 10 came off his four-seamer, and one off the slider.
By the time he finished his four innings of work, five earned runs crossed the plate and he struck out just one batter to three walks.
Things didn’t get better when Morgan left, either. Justin Garza was the first man up and completely lost the strike zone before being pulled. He allowed a lead-off homer to Mitch Moreland to start the fifth then walked the next three batters he faced. Between Sean Murphy and Matt Chapman, the final six pitches Garza threw were balls.
With the bases loaded and no outs, DeMarlo Hale turned to ... Francisco Perez? Hale opted to give the rookie his first taste of the big leagues in the worst possible situation, making a guy with all the potential in the world be a mop-up man in garbage time. If the final score wasn’t enough of an indication, this did not go well, either. Perez faced 10 batters, allowed three runs, and walked three without a strikeout.
Alex Young made his Guardians debut and pitched two solid innings before crumbling in the eighth.
As for defensive failures, Amed Rosario just isn’t cutting it at shortstop. He was slow on a routine ball that should have ended the second inning, but instead loaded the bases and eventually let another run score. His bat and speed seem to play enough for some kind of role on a major-league team, but surely not every day shortstop. Andrés Giménez is literally right there, sometimes feet away from short. Just let him play it already.
The offense was utterly nonexistent, even before things got out of control. Wilson Ramos had a hit.