The Guardians wasted no time in getting Bo Naylor into major-league action since officially adding him to the roster earlier today, and that’s all I really cared about in this game. The rest was forgettable.
Despite only allowing one earned run and issuing one walk, Zach Plesac sure made it difficult to justify bringing him along for the playoffs, even as a reliever. The majority of his 69 pitchers were four-seamers (35), followed by changeups (14), sliders (12), and curveballs (8). His command was all over the place, though, and he allowed seven hits in just 3.2 innings of work, with the wheels completely falling off before Eli Morgan came in and mercy killed the Royals’ rally in the fourth.
The offense looks ready to pack it in until the playoffs — and good for them. They deserve this mini-vacation. Doesn’t make it any more exciting to watch unfold in real-time.
It’s hard to scrutinize much of what we saw tonight, simply because Terry Francona is mixing and matching to give guys some last-minute rest days as the regular season winds down. But it was fun to see some faces that haven’t shown up very often. José Ramírez was finally granted a day of rest after his home run last night, as rookie Gabriel Arias racked up another hit in his fledgling MLB career. Rookie Will Benson also replaced rookie Oscar Gonzalez as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth.
And, of course, Bo Naylor made his MLB debut, replacing not-rookie Luke Maile midway through the game. He struck out and flied out in his only at-bats, but looked confident behind the plate and even nabbed his first would-be base stealer with this absolute laser.
Naylor was the 17th rookie to debut for the Guardians this season. Unless something crazy happens, he’ll probably be the last.
Also of note, Steven Kwan recorded his 166th hit of the season, the most by a Cleveland rookie since Hal Trosky hit 206 in 1934. Trosky, an oft-overlooked great first baseman in an era of many great first basemen, would go on to record at least 150 hits in 11 of his 13 MLB seasons. With any luck, Kwan will have the same outstanding career, minus the debilitating migraine headaches that tragically cut Trosky’s career short.
The loss drops Cleveland to 89-69 as their magic number remains firmly at zero. But look out for the red-hot White Sox, winners of two (2) straight and now only 10.5 games behind the first-place Guardians.