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Corner Chronicles: April 13, 2023 - April 20, 2023

Welcome to the Corner Chronicles — a weekly dive into what happened this week in Cleveland Guardians baseball, from the deep dingers to the decisions that shape the team

Well, that sure was a week of Cleveland Guardians baseball that existed, huh? I was lucky enough to be away at a cheer competition for my daughter and wasn’t subjected to the Nationals games live, but following along and randomly tuning in didn’t paint a pretty picture for the most part, even though they won two of three. Tight games all around against a team that shouldn’t require tight games.

The Detroit series, which I was unfortunately locked in for every moment of, was just as bad, if not worse. A dead offense that found just enough life to avoid being swept by the eternally rebuilding Tigers. The Tigers started hot against the Guardians last year too and still lost the overall series, 10-9. So we’ll see what happens over the next several months.

One sign of life from the decrepit offense this week was that Josh Bell finally started to click. He led the way with eight hits, five doubles, and a home run. We also saw Myles Straw add six hits to an already impressive 2023 campaign, and Will Brennan hit three doubles and singlehandedly save a game with a couple of great defensive plays in the bottom of the ninth.

This week also saw the debut of Brayan Rocchio ... sort of. He got to wear the Topps debut patch and was even given the lineup card as a souvenir, but he was sent down almost immediately after being called up. On the one hand, Rocchio going back down means that either Amed Rosario or Tyler Freeman are healthy enough to not require his services. On the other hand, it stinks we won’t get to see Rocchio quite yet — his time will come, though.

The good news of all this is that it is April. While, yes, the games still count the same as they do in September, everyone is adjusting early on. This is how a baseball season works. A good homestand against the Marlins and Rockies will erase a lot of the bad feelings of that road trip.

Bottle up however you feel about the Guardians right this moment, and let’s look back at it in next week’s Corner Chronicles and see if you still feel the same.

Swing And A Scoreboard: The Recaps Worth Remembering

Friday, April 14: Guardians 4, Nationals 3
Beating the Nationals shouldn’t be this hard, but the Guardians sure had trouble doing it. They required Josh Bell’s bat finally coming to life to pull off a 4-3, comeback win over the worst team in baseball. Their struggles in getting Game 1 from the Nats would be a sign of bad things to come for the rest of this road trip.

Saturday, April 15: Guardians 6, Nationals 4
OK, seriously could you please just beat the Nationals like a normal team? Once again, after spotting Washington a three-run lead early, the Guardians required a comeback effort to pull out a victory. This time it was José Ramírez launching a 420-foot monster as the go-ahead runs in the bottom of the fifth. A win is a win, though.

Sunday, April 16: Guardians 6, Nationals 7
It almost looked like the same story for three-straight games, but after yet another early deficit and yet another comeback attempt from the Guardians, the bullpen imploded to allow four runs down the stretch to drop the final game of the series.

Tuesday, April 18 (Game 1): Guardians 3, Tigers 4
Tuesday, April 18 (Game 2): Guardians 0, Tigers 1
A miserable day at the ballpark for the Guardians offense on Tuesday. Following a rainout of the opener on Monday, the Guards and Tigers opened their series with a doubleheader. Cleveland’s bats fell completely silent, including an embarrassing 1-0 shutout in Game 2. At least Peyton Battenfield still looked good in his second career start.

Wednesday, April 19: Guardians 3, Tigers 2
José Ramírez fell victim to a weird wrinkle of the new pitch clock, as he was “struck out” because he wasn’t engaged quickly enough with a pitcher who wasn’t even on the rubber. He turned his frustration into power, however, as he hit a three-run home run in his next at-bat and ultimately led the Guardians to a much-needed win. It won’t show up in a box score, but Will Brennan saved the day in the bottom of the ninth with a couple of game-saving catches.

Corner Clippings: The News & Analysis You Need

A Close Examination: The Big Moment

That’s Why They Call Him the GOAT
By Matt Schlichting

José Ramírez owned a single home run for the 2023 campaign until Wednesday’s matchup against the Tigers. The GOAT smashed a scoreless tie with a three-run bomb down the right-field line against Spencer Turnbull.

Turnbull challenged Ramírez with a 92-mph fastball. Said fastball leaked over the center of the plate. Ramìrez ID’d this pitch as a potential home run and converted it with ease.

The three runs were all necessary as Detroit clawed back two, but Cleveland prevailed thanks to a key moment from its best hitter.

Three Big Things: The Week’s Biggest Dongs

Oscar Gonzalez, 423 feet
Oscar Gonzalez may be off to a slow start, but a few more dongs like this one and he might get back on track. This two-run shot in the fourth inning against the Tigers couldn’t stop James Karinchak from giving up a walk-off home run later on, but at least it looked nice.

José Ramírez, 420 feet
You give José Ramírez a middle-middle slider that doesn’t move and he is going to crush it every time. Even on a 3-0 count, he’s not about to watch the juiciest meatball ever served up by a pitcher go for a strike.

Josh Bell, 410 feet
Josh Bell’s first home run as a Guardian was not only important for his own self-esteem, but it provided the Guardians the spark they needed to mount a comeback against the Nationals. This lead-off homer in the top of the seventh snowballed into a rally that plated another run to tie the game and set up Will Brennan’s game-winning RBI in the eighth.