Today’s 10-4 drubbing of the Texas Rangers wrapped the series with a sweep and the division with a clinch. The Guardiac Kids, not content to simply rally late in games, decided to emphasize their signature style by finishing the season with the same energy.
Cleveland’s speed, baserunning skill, and gap power make them a nightmare on the basepaths. Errors can shatter the resolve of a defense and lead to runs thanks to frustration, loss of focus, anger, and even violence against the playing field.
Cleveland cried havoc in the third inning of today’s game.
Tyler Freeman and Myles Straw singled on either side of Luke Maile’s flyout to put runners at first and second. Steven Kwan then broke open the scoring by singling Tyler Freeman home. He stole second during Amed Rosario’s at-bat.
And so, Myles Straw stood on third, Steven Kwan stood on second, and Amed Rosario poked a routine ground ball to third.
Lots of speed.
Not much time.
Straw bolted home and beat a wild throw from Josh Jung. It bounced toward the backstop. Now, let’s all watch catcher Jonah Heim bust his tuchus to get this ball:
Oh. Did he not — surely he didn’t forget about the other runner. That would be incredibly embarrassing.
I am also not sure if Ernie Clement knew he set a trend when he scored from second base on a backstop ball but hey, all the cool kids are doing it now.
Not satisfied with three chaos runs, Cleveland cashed in another when Óscar González singled. It isn’t all about the throws, either. In the sixth inning, Gabriel Arias tripled home two runners who reached on infield errors.
I do not mean to harass defenders of opposing teams; this is meant to emphasize how much pressure the Guardians put on defenders. It is relentless, and I am even a bit surprised that they don’t make more TOOTBLANS.
Steven Kwan’s grand slam — the first of his career — turned the remainder of the game into a formality.
Not entirely lost in the mayhem of postseason berth celebrations is a fine start from Aaron Civale. He struck out seven Rangers in five innings while allowing only two runs. The sharpness of his breaking balls and trademark command (no walks allowed) bodes well for his postseason, and Cleveland’s.
Kirk McCarty, Bryan Shaw, and James Karinchak finished the job. They might have allowed a run. It is understandable, as I am sure that they were eager to celebrate.
I know I am. Paint this page blue, nerds.