Somewhere around the third inning of tonight’s game, I had a feeling and I turned it into a tweet.
This game has an 11-inning 2-1 bullshit loss funk to it.— Matt Lyons (@mattrly) September 8, 2022
Now, you might be looking at that and thinking that it’s my fault the Guardians did, in fact, lose a 2-1 game with some absolute tomfoolery as the end. HOWEVER, it didn’t go to extras so I submit to the court that I did not, in fact, curse the team. Blame Emmanuel Clase instead.
But for real, joking aside, blame Clase. At least a little bit He’s still the best reliever in baseball, he’s still going to dominate from here on out, but he can’t win ‘em all. He was due a stinker like this sooner or later, and boy did he have one.
Clase wielded his typical cutter that immediately topped the pitch velocity charts, but tonight he couldn’t locate it to save his life (or this game). The end result was 19 pitches, zero swings and misses, and eight balls. I don’t think there’s anything terribly insightful to gather from Clase’s outing here, it was just a bad night and the guy pitched four games in the last three days. With Cody Morris filling in for an injured rotation and only going four innings, the bullpen was taxed.
This was Clase’s first blown save since May 5 against the Twins, and it’s the first time he’s allowed an earned run since Aug. 6 against the Astros. I think he’ll be OK.
If you don’t want to blame Clase, you could also blame the offense and no one would fault you for it. The Guardians outhit the Royals, 8-6, but couldn’t form a good sequence to score any runs. The typically clutch Andrés Giménez flying out with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the first immediately made this game smell off.
Owen Miller plated the Guards’ only runner of the evening with an RBI single in the top of the fourth. That followed Oscar Gonzalez hitting one of his two doubles on the day, and it was Miller’s third hit in his last two games. Is he turning a corner? His utterly disappointing at-bat in the eighth with an insurance run on base would leave me to believe no. At least we know we’ll see him get at-bats every single day to figure it out.
This all overshadows the fact that Cody Morris had a pretty solid outing for the second start of his career. He threw the most pitches he’s thrown in any game all season at any level, inducing eight swings and misses on 61 pitches. His cutter and changeup were both working well, which was a point of emphasis for him to improve after his rough debut last week.
The loss leaves Cleveland at 70-65 on the season — still good for first in the AL Central or fifth in the AL East.