On the grand scale of Bryan Shaw bullpen implosions, today would hardly even register, but only because it ended so soon.
Shaw was brought in to hold a 4-1 lead in the seventh inning — the third day in a row he has pitched against his former team. The last two outings were nothing short of vintage Bryan Shaw, and perhaps rubbed the salt in the wound of what he looked like in his limited time in Colorado.
Unfortunately, today was also vintage Bryan Shaw — just, like, the bad vintage. He failed to register a single out, giving up singles to Brian Serven and Connor Joe and walking Charlie Blackmon to face the required three batters before Terry Francona had seen enough. Bases loaded, no outs, disaster on the horizon.
Eli Morgan, who already looks like a star out of the bullpen, recorded three outs to end the threat, only giving up a sacrifice fly in the process. I’m positive if they went to a bar, Eli would be carded under suspicion of being 17 years old, but either way, I think Bryan Shaw owes him several drinks for the effort today.
It’s the same story we’ve seen a million times since the Francona-Shaw love story began like a bad Lifetime Christmas movie. He’s a fine, borderline great, reliever who gets worked into the ground by a manager who trusts him just a little bit too much
and he eventually returns to his small hometown to meet the love his life and they live happily ever after.
To be fair, it’s been a while since we’ve seen a Shaw meltdown. The earned run allowed tonight was his first since May 22, and he hasn’t allowed multiple runs since The May 13 Event in which he gave up five to the Twins without allowing a single out.
So again, not the worst outing he’s had, but only because he was pulled before it could get worse. And if he didn’t have Eli Morgan to put out the fire, it would have been a lot worse. Don’t let all that distract you from the fact that this was a win for the Guardians, their fourth in a row.
José Ramírez struck out twice for the first time in forever, but he also hit a double. That’s his eighth game in a row with a hit, and also his eighth in a row with an extra-base hit.
Oscar Gonzalez registered the hardest-hit ball of the day at 108.5 miles per hour, but that was the only plus for him today. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts as opposing pitchers are starting to put together a book on him.
A day after he made maybe the best defensive play you’ll see all year, Steven Kwan goaded Rockies pitcher Lucas Gilbreath into making an errant throw to first by juking him out.
Would I be annoyed if a Rockies player did this and a Guardians pitcher threw it away? Maybe. Do I love it anyway? Yep.
On the mound, Triston McKenzie turned in one of his best starts of the year, going six innings with seven hits, six strikeouts, and one earned run. He relied heavily on his four-seamer, throwing it 68% of the time, but also worked in his slider and threw a handful of curveballs which generated some whiffs. McKenzie has made it at least the sixth inning in every start since April 26.
The win puts Cleveland two games back of the Twins, who had Thursday off. They’ve enjoyed a relatively easy schedule to date, but things are about to get real at the Corner as they face the Dodgers, Twins, Red Sox, and Yankees over the next two weeks.