OK, sure, maybe this one was a team win. But for now, I’m going to call it as I see it: Oscar Gonzalez and Tyler Freeman are better than Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.
Now, granted, were the Angels sending an injured shortstop out there who couldn’t hit because of an injured hand and had to bunt every at-bat? Maybe. Should I be blaming the Angels’ incompetence on Trout and Ohtani? I’m going to. Watch me.
Regardless of all that, the Guardians needed to keep winning, and keep winning they did. Today they took home their sixth in a row with a 5-3 win over the Angels. Despite falling behind in the middle innings, they did what they’ve done all season — they didn’t give up.
This is a very subjective thing, but this game never felt out of reach. There have been times this season when a two-run deficit felt like death, but even when the Guards were down 3-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth this afternoon, they were putting up enough good at-bats to make a comeback seem possible. Maybe even inevitable.
Gonzalez and Freeman were excellent, of course, with the former getting the scoring going with a homer in the second inning. José Ramírez added a home run as well, his first of September. Andrés Giménez, who has been on a bit of a cold streak since the start of the Minnesota series over the weekend, recorded his first three-hit game since Aug. 15 to push his batting average back to .300. Despite not hitting a home run himself, Freeman had two of the hardest-hit balls of the day — a 103.9 mph single in the fifth and a 100.7 mph double in the seventh.
Gonzalez’s homer was, to put it mildly, an absolute donger. It left his bat at 107.7 mph and went 423 feet. According to the Twitter account @would_it_dong, the blast would have been a home run in any park but Colorado.
Oscar Gonzalez vs Patrick Sandoval#ForTheLand— Would it dong? (@would_it_dong) September 14, 2022
Exit velo: 107.7 mph
Launch angle: 25 deg
Proj. distance: 423 ft
This would have been a home run in 29/30 MLB ballparks.
Only Coors Field would've held this one in.
LAA (0) @ CLE (1)
In case you thought I was joking about the Angels sending out a player who literally couldn’t swing the bat, Here is a rundown of David Fletcher’s three at-bats (to follow up his four bunts from yesterday):
- 3rd inning: Bunt, fly out to first.
- 5th inning: Bunt, ground out to first.
- 7th inning: Bunt, ground out to pitcher.
Sometimes it’s a mystery how the Angels can have two generational talents on the same roster and still manage to lose, and sometimes they do stuff like this.
Despite giving up a home run to the Angels’ real power threat, Mickey Moniak, Cal Quantrill pitched a solid 7.0 innings with six strikeouts, no walks, and three earned runs. Trevor Stephan and James Karinchak combined to pitch a scoreless pair of relief innings, which gave Emmanuel Clase a well-deserved day off.
The Guardians will welcome the White Sox to Progressive Field for a make-up game tomorrow before the Twins come to town for a whopping five games. We’re in the home stretch now, and with a 4.0 lead over the White Sox, I dare say things are looking pretty good for Cleveland.