58+ RBI in the first 56 games of a @CleGuardians season— High Heat Stats (@HighHeatStats) June 12, 2022
Albert Belle 1996
Manny Ramirez 1999
JOSE RAMIREZ 2022
That is all.
Just in case you're wondering why every opposing pitcher is afraid of Jose...
We’re going to start with that, as José Ramírez continues to be the fulcrum on which this offense pivots. He doubled and drove in three more runs today. It is important that Owen Miller, Myles Straw, and Amed Rosario added multiple hits to their campaign. However, Ramírez is developing some serious Shaq energy for this franchise.
Yes, Shaq. You may recall that for a period of the mid-90s, the Orlando Magic were too cool for school. I’m serious. They made kids stop wearing Shaq and Penny jerseys without an undershirt to my grade school when I was a kid. It was a whole thing.
Like Shaq, you cannot even begin planning for how to approach the Guardians until you have a plan in place for Ramírez. I am unsure that anyone has landed on anything that even approaches the efficacy of Hack-a-Shaq.
Cross-sport comparisons get hazier the longer you stare at them, so we’ll leave it there. I would say that we need a weird videogame for Ramírez but it already exists.
Back to our metaphor: a fulcrum doesn’t do much on its own, but with the right equipment and leverage it’s just about the most powerful thing out there other than compound interest.
This offense rarely lifts with all hands — note the afternoons of Gonzalez, Clement, Mercado — but the complimentary playing styles that surround Ramírez spin up into a synergy on days like today. If enough guys are on, then it simply doesn’t matter; the runs will happen. Cleveland consistently put the ball into play, made the Oakland defense work, and added yet another unearned run to their offensive ledger today thanks to a throwing error. It’s fun to watch.
On the mound, Cal Quantrill keeps pitching very good baseball games. He might feel all satisfied and GRAND, but now he’s pitched well enough for long enough that I’m gonna hold him to a HIGHER STANDARD. Just saying, I might say even nicer things about him in the future and he’s just gonna have to deal with the unprecedented and overwhelming consequences of a fairly smalltime blogger rooting for him. I GUESS we’ll SEE how he RESPONDS.
Bryan Scorelessly Shaw’d.
Trevor Stephan continued to work through the rough patch that he entered recently. Today he allowed a couple of home runs in the eighth. It would be interesting to analyze what has changed in recent weeks for Stephan. A player’s “form” can change for many reasons, and sometimes it is because others come up with a new strategy. We talk from time to time about the back-and-forth series of adjustments that are made in baseball. I think you can learn an awful lot about a player by watching how they work through their first few hiccups in the league. Some guys slam helmets; other guys scratch their chin and go chirp at a coach about what they think happened. It all matters.
(some guys do both, stop looking at me)
Emmanuel Clase simply continues to be the most reliable closer in baseball. There really isn’t any luck here, either. His ERA is 1.93. His xERA is 1.94, and his xFIP is 1.90. It’s fun when somebody’s outcomes line up almost perfectly with their efforts. Many relievers are due for some kind of regression, but he is not one of them.
This ended up being a little bit more of a “where are we now” versus a recap of the game, but it feels like something clicked for Cleveland this weekend. I said it at the end of March and I’ll say it again — this is a really good baseball team and the season goes through October.