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Guardians end April on a low note

It’s the same note they’ve played all month

Cleveland Guardians v Boston Red Sox Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Was this game just a creative way to haze rookie pitcher Logan Allen? Surely the offense didn’t just let Chris Sale dominate them for six innings and suffer a bullpen implosion while their own pitcher looked excellent in just his second career start? Surely you jest?

For the sake of my own sanity, I’ll pretend that’s what this 7-1 drubbing was. A good-natured jape between friends. Good prank, guys. You got him. Logan Allen thought he was coming up to play with a major-league offense and you guys sure showed him otherwise. It was hilarious, but the joke is over now. Please hit against the Yankees tomorrow.

This hilarious ruse was orchestrated by the middle of the order — José Ramírez, Josh Bell, Oscar Gonzalez, and Andrés Giménez — combining to go 1-for-15. This effort came against a pitcher who had an 8.22 ERA entering the game and hadn’t recorded an out in the seventh inning since 2019. I bet they had a good laugh when Allen came back into the dugout wondering why he didn’t get a morsel of run support from his offense.

Giménez, despite getting the one hit of that group, had a boneheaded game all around. First with an attempted bunt that led to an 0-2 count (but eventually bailed out by getting hit by a pitch), and then diving into first base in the final play of a 7-1 game. He desperately needs someone to tell him to stop doing these obviously bad things. Someone to manage him, perhaps.

Nick Sandlin and Peyton Battenfield aided in the prank by combining to allow five earned runs over three innings. Each allowed a home run, but at least Battenfield struck out two of the 12 batters he faced. Speaking of Battenfield, this appearance doesn’t necessarily mean he’s out of the rotation altogether. Prior to today he hasn't pitched until Tuesday, and he wasn’t expected to get a start in the upcoming Yankees series anyway. With an off-day Thursday, he could still easily get a start against the Twins if the chips fall that way.

The one bright spot in this game was undoubtedly Logan T. Allen. The “Joe Schmo” of this elaborate prank of a baseball game.

Allen didn’t look as mechanically sharp the whole way through like he did in his debut a week ago, but it was a cold miserable day against a better lineup. I’m more than willing to give him a pass on that, especially with eight strikeouts along the way. A couple of long innings meant that he only lasted five frames, but he also struck out eight and only walked two. It was extremely encouraging to watch him get into trouble then stay composed and get out of it without devastating damage.

First, he got out of a jam in the second inning when runners were on first and second with one out. A strikeout and groundout got him back into the dugout without a run scoring. Allen came back in the next two innings and would have sat everyone down in order if Amed Rosario — with the help of a wet baseball — didn’t bungle a throw to first. He also struck out all three batters he faced in the bottom of the fourth.

Allen found himself in similar trouble in the bottom of the fifth, with runners on second and third and no outs. This time he got a strikeout and allowed a single that plated both runners. But he also got the final two outs of the inning via the strikeout.

Allen went with his sweeping slider 45 times, four-seamer 39 times, changeup 19 times, and he also threw a lone cutter. Baseball Savant categorizes his changeup as a splitter, but they mentioned on the Bally Sports broadcast that he doesn’t consider it a splitter himself, it’s just how he holds his changeup. Whatever he wants to call it, it induced a couple of swings and misses. The real hero today was that sweeper, however, as it was whiffed on nine times and watched for six called strikes.

With this game in the books, the Cleveland Guardians have officially finished April with a .500 or worse record for the third consecutive season. They’ll head into May at 13-15 with a lot of work to do to win the worst division in baseball by the time October rolls around.