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What’s next for the Guardians rotation?

Cleveland Guardians news for Thursday, April 27, 2023

MLB: APR 26 Rockies at Guardians Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tanner Bibee’s electric debut was maybe the highlight of the season so far — but what’s next?

Terry Francona confirmed after the game that the plan is for Bibee to stick around, and assuming Logan Allen does as well, that leaves the Guardians with some interesting rotation questions ahead. Triston McKenzie is going to start throwing bullpen sessions soon; Aaron Civale probably won’t be injured forever. Peyton Battenfield has at least proven he can hold down major-league lineups. Oh, and Gavin Williams is starting in Triple-A now.

With Bibee, Allen, and Battenfield now in the mix, the Guardians can probably delay a decision on Williams as long as they typically like to. Remember, without injuries and Tito torching the other options for Wednesday’s start, Bibee might not have even debuted yesterday. Their hand was forced by sheer coincidence, but there’s probably enough of a cushion now that it won’t happen again with Williams.

That said, I’m not sure how much Williams has to prove — even in Triple-A — unless he struggles right out of the gate. So far in his minor-league career, he has allowed 26 runs in 129.1 innings between High-A and Double-A. He was a man among boys in Double-A this year, striking out 20 with just one earned run in 14.1 innings.

That’ll probably be a decision for another day, however. For now, the Guardians need to figure out how they are going to win games with an offense that isn’t clicking.

To this point, the Guardians are 12-13 against mostly sub-.500 teams. But the cupcake portion of their schedule is all but over. They’ll take on the Red Sox starting tomorrow, then throughout the course of May, they will play the Yankees, Twins, Angels, Mets, White Sox (twice), Cardinals, and Orioles. If Memorial Day is truly the cut-off date to know whether or not it’s time to panic about a baseball season, the Guardians have got to figure out their offense quickly.

If it’s any consolation, it looks like they have a pair of stud rookie pitchers to help keep the scores low, and Eli Morgan still hasn't allowed a run in 11.2 relief innings.

Guardians 4, Rockies 1

Box Score | Game Thread | CTC Recap | MLB Recap
An impressive debut for Bibee, to say the least. Eight strikeouts, no walks, and one earned run over 5.2 innings. More than that, his pitches looked sharp, and his fastball touched 98.5 mph. He may have had some issues with control up in the zone, but that just gives him an avenue to be even better his next time out.

Thanks to Bibee’s dominance on the mound, the Guardians mercifully avoided a sweep against the Rockies.

Today’s baseball: Scheduled off-day

Cleveland Guardians news

Cleveland Guardians pitching coach Carl Willis taken to hospital after feeling light-headed | WKYC
Hopefully, as the Guardians have mentioned, it was just a precautionary measure.

Francona said Willis began feeling dizzy as he walked to the dugout from the bullpen where he watched starting pitcher Tanner Bibee warm up. Francona said Willis resisted the idea of going to the hospital, but the decision was made out of an abundance of caution.

Tanner Bibee has arrived | Covering the Corner
Tanner Bibee Day finally happened, and it was glorious. If you missed Quincy’s overarching view of the 24-year-old’s call-up, check it out here.

What scouts think of Tanner Bibee | Covering the Corner
One thing that sticks out from MLB Pipeline’s latest scouting report is this:

The Guardians had Bibee focus on throwing with more intent, which freed up his delivery and allowed his stuff to take off.

Everything works off of his explosive delivery, from that 99 mph fastball to his slurvey slider to his loop curveball. I love me some Logan Allens and Aaron Civales and the cerebral command guys, but there’s just something electrifying about a power pitching such as Bibee.

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