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Let me off the Bryan Shaw Experience

I don’t like this ride mommy, I want to go home

Cleveland Guardians v Minnesota Twins Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Fifteen pitches, two home runs, five earned runs, no outs. That’s about all you need to know about Bryan Shaw’s night tonight. He came into the game at a tense moment and left the field with a burning tire fire behind him.

The loss isn’t all on Shaw, of course. He didn’t the other two runners to score in the fifth — or the two solo home runs in the first three at-bats in the game — but he came in a time that he could have maintained a 4-2 lead. Instead, the score was 11-2 by the time he was mercifully pulled for Eli Morgan.

Honestly, I’m not even all that concerned or shocked by Bryan Shaw’s performance. He’s going to have a bunch of quietly OK games, and he’s going to absolutely implode like a dying star in a few. That’s what he has been for his whole career, with the good often outweighing the bad until the last couple of seasons. He was used in a terrible spot, but Terry Francona and like the next seven people in line to manage the team were out with COVID. Everything about Shaw was painful to watch in the moment, but not terribly shocking in retrospect.

Now, Aaron Civale, on the other hand. What the heck is up with him? After looking like he was on the cusp of putting something really great together the last two seasons, he has now failed to exit the sixth inning in each of his six starts this season, and he hasn’t allowed fewer than three earned runs since his first start of the year on April 11. Tonight, despite a slight uptick in velocity from his season norms, he was all over the place and threw an utterly hittable cutter that was put in play five times.

Civale still managed five strikeouts, but as evidenced by two home runs in the first innings, he didn’t come out of the gate strong. And he sure didn’t finish his outing strong either, allowing the first three batters in the fifth inning to reach base, followed by a double play, and the next two getting on and scoring a pair of runs.

On the positive side of tonight’s loss, the offense didn’t stop fighting until the bitter end. Austin Hedges, Oscar Mercado, and Andres Gimenez all homered. Gimenez’s came in the top of the ninth to open the door for a single ray of hope to shine through (before Mercado slammed it shut with a game-ending strikeout).

Along with two hits from Mercado, José Ramírez and Amed Rosario (still inexplicably starting at shortstop over Gimenez) each had a pair of hits as well.