The Guardians’ 4-2 loss to the Reds this afternoon meant that they were swept by the team with the worst record in baseball and José Ramírez had to leave the game early because he fouled a ball right off the big ouchy part of his leg that wasn’t protected by a shin guard.
But look on the bright side ... OK I haven’t actually thought of one yet.
By far the most egregious part of this loss was seeing Guardians pitchers throw Tyler Naquin anything but high cheese. After watching him whiff on fastballs up in the zone for the better part of five years, the Cleveland organization refuses to read a scouting report. Today they gave him a changeup over the middle of the plate that he, naturally, hit into the stands. It tied the game at 1-1 and Naquin also singled to start a three-run inning for the Reds in the eighth inning. That hit at least came on a high fastball, which at this point is simply an anonomly.
Cal Quantrill had a much-needed quality start, throwing seven innings and striking out five to just one earned run off that Naquin home run. Cal’s cutter was thrown 34 times, swung on 16 times, and whiffed on four times. Combined with nine called strikes, it was a pretty effective pitch for him when he was able to locate it.
After Trevor Stephen’s awful eighth inning — which ultimately led to the Reds winning the game — Eli Morgan pitched a flawless 1.1 innings with three strikeouts and no baserunners.
Now, about that offense.
They managed just three hits, including Owen Miller’s double as the only extra-base hit of the game. José Ramírez’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth came after he fouled a ball off his leg and limped around in considerable pain for several minutes. He still managed to hit the ball 96.1 miles per hour, but was pulled for a pinch-runner after hobbling to first.
Whjle he didn’t have a hit of his own, Steven Kwan deserves credit for a couple well-played at-bats, resulting in two walks ahead of his team’s best better. You can’t go wrong with that. He swung and missed on just one pitch and was the victim of a pretty large strike zone. Still, he got on base and looked as locked in as ever, so there’s that.
Today would have been an off-day for the Guards, but instead they’ll turn around and prepare to face the Tigers for a weekend series at Progressive Field starting tomorrow.