A dominant starting Cleveland pitcher, demoralizing the opposing pitcher early, a formerly unknown utility player going off, weird stadium mishaps, Miguel Cabrera being irrelevant at the plate but fun on first base — all the favorite hits you remember from recent years against the Tigers were on display tonight as the Guardians took game one of the series, 6-1.
The offense jumped on Matt Manning in the third and got an early 4-0 lead, but the obvious story of tonight’s game is Cleveland’s starter, Cal Quantrill.
The reliever turned current ace of the staff put up a dominant seven innings of work by holding Detroit scoreless and walkless. He struck out a career-high 10 batters and lowered his season ERA to a delicious 3.14. Quantrill kept the hapless Tigers offense off the bases using all five of his pitches; his sinker/slider combination was especially on point. The combination that has become his bread and butter was thrown 61 times, and induced 21 called strikes and swinging strikes. The average exit velocity of the six sliders put in play was just 69.2 mph.
There were no jams to speak of that Quantrill had to work out of, so we can’t even say this was a gutsy win. This was just pure domination of an inferior lineup. The closest he came to sweating was in the first inning with runners on the corners and one out. He promptly got Miguel Cabrera to hit into an inning-ending double play and that was that.
After the pair of hits he allowed in that first frame, he didn’t allow a runner to reach base until a single in the sixth, which he erased with a strikeout for the third out.
Elsewhere in the win, Ernie Clement became an unlikely hero with an athletic play in the third inning and recording a career-high three hits. His first knock was a double that set the table for the scoring parade in the third inning, and he also came around to score after singling in the fourth. I don’t think this is the beginning of the Ernie renaissance or anything, but it’s nice having a utility guy capable of going off like this once in a while.
BIIIIIIIG STRETCH! pic.twitter.com/0CZqzKBFxH— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) August 6, 2021
I also have a personal affinity for Ernie Clement because he grew up in Rochester, NY and I just know he appreciates Wegman’s subs as much as I do.
Harold Ramirez had a solid game at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a strikeout, but it was everything else surrounding his night that was noteworthy. For one, he slapped on a first-base glove and covered the bag for the first time in his entire playing career (minors and majors) when Bobby Bradley injured himself diving home in the third. He made some stretches over there and didn’t actively hurt his team, so I think it’s officially time to make him the second-string first baseman.
Big Harold also made some noise by put a hole the barrier that is meant to protect the camera well from baseballs. Yes, he hit a foul ball so hard that he broke the barrier specifically engineered to protect people from baseballs. The man is a menace. And he’s our menace.
Franmil Reyes and some other players had fun with it in the dugout, and Harold got a picture with his destruction to send home to mom.
Big Harold!! pic.twitter.com/TdViagnJXH— Andre Knott (@DreKnott) August 7, 2021
The tone of this recap nearly shifted on a dime with Blake Parker almost giving up the lead in the bottom of the ninth, but luckily Emmanuel Clase came in to shut things down a preserve the win with the bases loaded.
The lone run in the ninth did, unfortunately, prevent Cleveland from completing their first shutout since June 21. I guess they’ll have to settle for their first five-run win since July 28 instead.