Look folks, the Guardians aren’t selfish. They have had plenty of rookie debuts this year and most of them have gone pretty well. So they understood that tonight was Baltimore’s night as rookie third baseman Gunnar Henderson was making his MLB debut. He deserved some time in the spotlight, right?
With that in mind, they did what any good-natured organization would do ... they let him win. At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself because otherwise woof. That was rough.
In an effort to make Henderson feel welcomed as a major-leaguer, Triston McKenzie served him up a slider on the inner half of the plate that he took 429 feet for a lead-off home run in the fourth inning. Fellow star rookie Adley Rutschman was waiting on the top step of the Oriole dugout to give him their home run chain. It would have been a beautiful moment if I didn’t hate it so much.
Bryan Shaw helped the cause in the ninth by giving up a single, but Nick Sandlin would have no part of it — he rudely forced Henderson to ground out in the sixth.
Baseball is a team sport, though, and for Henderson to feel like he’s on a real team he had to watch his teammates succeed as well. That’s where Jordan Lyles and his 6.2 innings of shutout baseball came in. He walked three Guardians batters and struck out just two, but Cleveland managed just five hits all night and none of them were grouped together. When Cionel Perez and Felix Bautista came in to close out the game (owners of a 1.59 and 1.55 ERA, respectively), the Guardians didn’t put up much of a fight.
Again, as a show of good faith to the rookie. Please understand.
Terry Francona even joined in on the fun by letting Eli Morgan pitch in a close game, and having Myles Straw pinch-hit for Will Benson late in the game. That jokester.
If there was one noteworthy highlight for the Guardians, it was this defensive play by Steven Kwan in the top of the second.
Another day, another amazing defensive play from Steven Kwan. pic.twitter.com/GLMIk0OeeO— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) August 31, 2022
And thus ends the Guardians highlight portion of tonight’s recap.
Luckily, as I type this, the Twins are losing to the Red Sox in the fifth. If that holds, this game will effectively not matter in the playoff race. Gaining a game on Minnesota would have been nice, but not losing one is pretty nice, too. Go sawx.