Amed Rosario this season in situations deemed “high leverage” by FanGraphs heading into tonight’s game: 4-30, 0 HR, 5 SO.
Amed Rosario in the one at-bat that mattered tonight in the bottom of the 11th: 1-1, RBI.
Rosario’s heroics in the 11th, a simple liner hit past a diving(?) first baseman that plated rookie Will Benson and won the game, was one of three he had in the win. He also homered in the third to give the Guardians some breathing room early. In a poetic twist, this all comes on the eve of the day when he is probably not going to be traded after months of speculation that he would be the first out the door at the trade deadline.
Once the add-on to the Francisco Lindor deal, Rosario now sits as the heart and soul of the Guardians. Maybe not their most consistent offensive threat, maybe not their most stalwart defender, but no one seems to rally the team as much as he does. He is their identity through and through — fast on the basepaths and putting pressure on defenses with constant contact.
Tonight he finally came through in the clutch and helped his team beat the Diamondbacks, 6-5.
Rosario’s fellow trade-mate that Lindor deal, Andrés Giménez, had the game of his life as well, going 4-for-5 with a career-high three steals. This isn’t meant to be some kind of smack talk on the trade (although, I mean, y’know), but it feels pretty good to have this middle infield right now. An All-Star who oozes clutch, and a veteran leader at second base and shortstop — I’ll take it.
Benson, in his first major-league at-bat, had a chance for his own hero moment in the bottom of the 10th, but the moment may have gotten to him a bit. With two outs and a runner on third, he swung at the first pitch he saw from Mark Melancon, a knuckle curve low in the zone, and drilled it straight into the ground to end the potential game-winning rally there. No harm, no foul, though. He started the 11th on second, was bunted over, and was able to score the winning run in his first game.
How many of us have gotten to do something this heroic 12 hours after eating Taco Bell? Not many, I’d imagine.
A two-run home run from Owen Miller in the bottom of the second gave the Guardians their first lead of the game, but for the most part, this was the Andrés & Amed show. Franmil Reyes came in to pinch-hit for Nolan Jones and looks irredeemable at the plate (rumor has it he’s being optioned tomorrow). Jones himself didn’t look much better, striking out twice. Josh Naylor is slowly working his way back into form, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. José Ramírez quietly went 1-for-4 with a walk. A bunch of a ho-humidty wiped out by a couple of superstars doing amazing things.
Speaking of superstars, Steven Kwan extended his hitting streak to 15 games — the longest by a Cleveland rookie since Michael Brantley in 2010. You may recall that Brantley started his career as a selective, power-starved outfielder. I’d say his career has gone OK since then. This was Kwan’s fifth multi-hit game during his streak.
I’m happy the Guardians won, of course, but we were also so close to utter insanity that I kind of wish Rosario beefed it with two outs. The Diamondbacks burned through their pitchers earlier in the game — with Melancon already working through two innings he probably would have been too gassed to come out in the 12th. The Guardians were starting to run on fumes too, having pitched through Cal Quantrill, Eli Morgan, James Karinchak, Emmanuel Clase, Trevor Stephan, and Sam Hentges in their 11 innings on the mound. We almost had an opportunity to see a position player pitching in a tie game — maybe even two! It could have been glorious.
What we got wasn’t so bad either.
The Twins won their own extra-innings affair against the Tigers, 5-3. So, for you sadists scoreboard watching on Aug. 1, the Guardians remain a game back in the AL Central.