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Guardians’ bullpen implodes late in 6-3 loss to Red Sox

Bryan Shaw needs to retire

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Cleveland Guardians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Bryan Shaw ranks last among Guardians pitchers in fWAR (-0.2).

Yet Bryan Shaw also ranks second on the team in relief appearances this season, trailing only Emmanuel Clase.

And after giving up three runs Friday night, including a go-ahead two-run homer to Christian Arroyo, Bryan Shaw now ranks last among Guardians relievers in ERA (4.70).

So why does Terry Francona insist on using him in high leverage situations? The trust he has in Shaw does not seem to have any basis in reality, at least from my vantage point.

But I digress. I have a game to recap.

Friday’s night 6-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox was a close game until Shaw got involved.

Cleveland starting pitcher Cal Quantrill did not have good command of his pitches. He labored through five innings, and often felt like he was throwing rather than pitching. After loading the bases in the second inning with a hit and a pair of walks, Quantrill allowed the Red Sox to strike first when a pitch barely grazed the elbow of Arroyo, forcing in a run to make it 1-0.

The Guardians were able to even it up at 1-1 in the bottom of the second inning thanks to a stolen base by Andres Gimenez and a two-out RBI single courtesy of Myles Straw. But the stalemate did not last long, as Quantrill surrendered a leadoff homer to Rafael Devers the very next inning. Gimenez responded with a solo shot of his own in the fourth inning to pull even once more.

Cleveland struggled to gain much traction against Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta, who went seven innings and gave up nine hits and two earned runs, striking out four. He wasn’t dominant but the Guardians just couldn’t seem to string enough hits together to make a dent.

Shaw entered in the seventh inning with the score tied and went about breaking that tie, walking Rob Refsnyder and then serving up a home run to Arroyo to give Boston the lead. He managed to get a pair of groundouts from there but a two-out single by J.D. Martinez was enough for Francona to pull the plug and bring in Anthony Gose. Unfortunately, Gose gave up an RBI double to Alex Verdugo, who lined a shot past the outstretched glove of a diving Steven Kwan in left field.

Francona then essentially threw Yohan Ramirez to the wolves, asking him to eat the last two innings. Ramirez, making his Guardians debut, was interesting. He had a lot of movement on his pitches, for better and for worse. The stuff is there, but the command comes and goes. He finished the night having given up three hits, one walk, and one earned run.

The Guardians had the makings of a rally in the ninth inning, but they weren’t able to pull it off. After back-to-back singles by Franmil Reyes and Gimenez, Richie Palacios came on to pinch hit and struck out. Myles Straw was hit by a pitch — or was he? — to load the bases, setting up Steven Kwan to line an RBI single to center to cut it to a three-run deficit. But Amed Rosario struck out and Jose Ramirez grounded out to leave the bases loaded.

The highlight of the game for Cleveland came in the fifth inning. With one out and runners on second and third, Martinez sent a flare into shallow right field. Oscar Gonzalez came charging in and made a shoestring catch before firing to home plate, where Austin Hedges tagged out Arroyo for an inning-ending double play. See for yourself: