Technically the Cleveland Guardians played a full two games of baseball today, but one of them didn’t feel that long. The sweep consisted of an 11-1 thrashing in Game 1, and a 2-1 pitcher’s duel(ish) in Game 2.
Game 1 of the Guardians’ doubleheader against the White Sox was over pretty much as soon as it began. Amed Rosario started the scoring with a bases-loaded fielder’s choice in the first, but it was the second inning that really put the nail in the early coffin.
Guardians batters, for once, were not fooled by Dallas Keuchel at all. The groundball specialist didn’t record a single out in the second inning, though he faced the entire order in the frame alone. Gabriel Arias reached base twice in the second inning — both via White Sox errors. Oscar Mercado singled twice. Josh Naylor, Austin Hedges, Myles Straw, Ernie Clement, Franmil Reyes, and Amed Rosario all singled once in the inning.
Oh yeah, and José Ramírez did this.
It was his second grand slam of the season already, and it essentially ended the game there, but everyone was forced to stick around for the remaining seven innings anyway. Regulations and all that jazz.
Kwan would record an RBI single while pinch-hitting for Ramírez in garbage time, but for the most part, everyone quietly agreed to just get the first game over with without much fuss. At least, that’s what I assumed they did.
If you’re one to worry about early-season velocity, do yourself a favor and don’t look at Shane Bieber’s. He was still sitting in the 90-91 range today with his four-seamer. He compensated by leaning more heavily on his slider and knuckle curve and still ended the day in his usual, dominant fashion: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO.
Game 2 was a much closer game, but still sloppy. Not because the White Sox committed another four errors or anything, but rain reminded us why there are two games being played today with a brief drizzling in the middle innings. It made Myles Straw slip once. Exciting.
Both starting pitchers looked gassed by the ends of their outings, but luckily for the Guardians, their gassed guy made it 4.1 innings and only allowed one run. Triston McKenzie was probably left in for a few too many batters, and the result was a couple of extra walks and an earned run on the old stat line. But he still finished with just the one earned run to four walks and four strikeouts.
He would have had another run cross the plate if Steven Kwan didn’t show off his rocket launcher from left field.
Steven Kwan fan club is about to get unreasonable here. pic.twitter.com/DYYfbyLnyT— daniel mitchell (@yeah_mitch) April 20, 2022
The throw was so loud and powerful that D.C. police some 300 miles away thought it was a plane entering capitol airspace and ordered an evacuation. They say it was actually the Nationals’ pregame skydivers, but I’m not buying it.
Other than about a dozen baseballs fooling broadcasters into thinking they were home runs (but actually warning track fly balls), exciting offense in Game 2 was sparse. The White Sox were held to just three hits, while the Guardians put up six. One of those, thankfully, came from Gabriel Arias. Since reaching by an error doesn’t count as a hit, it was the first of his career.
While Arias didn’t get to play his home position of shortstop — because Amed Rosario can’t possibly be moved — he did get to test his rocket arm at third base.