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.
I never intended for this series to land on a momentous day like a home opener, but here we are. The Guardians open their 2023 home schedule this afternoon against the Mariners, and the Corner Chronicles returns to keep you up to date on everything that happened this week in Guardians baseball. These are two equally important events, I assure you.
For anyone unfamiliar, the Corner Chronicles is meant to be a weekly series during the entire regular season, but it’s one I’ve been bad at keeping going for more than a couple of weeks. Think of it as a “State of the Guardians” type of post — a souped-up news and notes, as well as, when there is something important, a state of Covering the Corner itself. And I swear I’m going to keep it going this time. Feel free to yell at me if I don’t.
The Guardians showed this week that 2022 was no fluke, as they blooped their way to five wins in their first seven games. Despite a brutal West Coast trip to start the season, they came out anything but lethargic, with their only losses coming in tough-luck games for Shane Bieber.
This week also saw Tim Herrin perform a feat that hasn’t been seen in a century when he struck out the first four batters he faced in his career. And because baseball is cruel, he also blew a three-run lead a couple of outings later.
Triston McKenzie’s loss to a shoulder injury has already been felt, but Hunter Gaddis stepped in when the Guardians needed him most to give the bullpen a much-needed reprieve on Wednesday. Gaddis, who was originally going to start the season in the bullpen, will be someone to watch for all season long, especially if he keeps bumping his velocity up. Mark my words, that changeup is real.
Seeing as this is the first week of the season, where news is slow and over-analyzing anything will almost always be wrong, I’ll just take the time to say thank you for being here and have fun if you’re making your way to the home opener. Go Guards.
— Matt Lyons, CTC Managing Editor
Swing And A Scoreboard: The Recaps Worth Remembering
Thursday, March 30: Guardians 0, Mariners 3
The brave souls who stayed up for a 10 p.m. Opening Day game were rewarded with a James Karinchak meltdown somewhere around midnight. Cleveland’s eccentric reliever couldn’t seem to handle the heat of the pitch timer and melted in front of a Seattle crowd that erupted at the first sight of a clock violation. Shane Bieber hardly looked dominant, but he still pitched six shutout innings.
Friday, March 31: Guardians 9, Mariners 4
The glorious return of baseball’s most disgusting brand. In the Guardians’ first win of the season, they slap-hit their way to nine runs and didn’t hit a single ball out of T-Mobile Park. The bullpen locked down the back end of the game, and Hunter Gaddis worked out of some jams.
Saturday, April 1: Guardians 2, Mariners 0
Andrés Giménez was worth his $106.5 million contract and then some in Saturday’s win over the Mariners. Not only did he hit his first home run of the year, but he turned a phenomenal double play from second base. This was also the start of the Aaron Civale comeback tour, as he pitched a near-flawless game utilizing all of his pitches.
Sunday, April 2: Guardians 6, Mariners 5
Every game in the opening series seemed to have its own story — its own hero and villain. In the finale, the hero was undoubtedly Mike Zunino. The Guards catcher homered and recorded two doubles in a show of what he can add on offense, even if his defense leaves a lot to be desired. Cal Quantrill didn’t have his best debut, but the offense and bullpen picked him up in a big way.
Monday, April 3: Guardians 12, Athletics 11
Monday’s series opener against the Athletics would have been an instant classic if it were a playoff game. But since it took place in April against a team that will probably lose 90 games and went into the wee hours of the following morning, it was kind of exhausting — but what a marathon it was. It all stemmed from a Zach Plesac implosion and a rare Emmanuel Clase blown save.
Tuesday, April 4: Guardians 4, Athletics 3
The Guardians’ second loss of the season was one not worth remembering. Just like in the Opening Day loss, Bieber was solid in his start but was let down by his defense, bullpen, and offense. On the plus side, Steven Kwan looked great and Myles Straw continued to look like a completely different hitter than his concerning 2022 campaign.
Wednesday, April 5: Guardians 6, Athletics 4
Known to historians as “the game where future Hall of Famer Hunter Gaddis had his first good start,” the Guardians ended their West Coast road trip with a dub, thanks to Gaddis and a high-flying catch made by Myles Straw.
Corner Clippings: The News & Analysis You Need
- Way-too-early trend watching with the Guardians, by Chris. D. Davies
- Eli Morgan and the slider that doesn’t slide, by Quincy Wheeler
- Guardians honor iconic drumming fan with uniform patch (MLB)
- The Cleveland Guardians have whiffed on first-round draft picks for 30 years (Away Back Gone)
- Guardians play their fastest game since 2011; MLB’s pitch clock is working to hasten pace (Akron Beacon Journal)
A Close Examination: The Big Moment
Myles Straw, Rally Smotherer
By Matt Schlichting
A tie game in the bottom of the eighth. A long drive to deep left center. Myles Straw sprinted toward the wall, leaping halfway through the warning track. It is difficult to tell whether or not this ball would have cleared the wall, but Straw stretched and snared it anyway. You can’t be too careful.
Steven Kwan sauntered over and presumably approved of Straw’s handiwork. Straw then casually tossed the ball back into the infield as he trotted to the dugout to begin the bottom of the ninth. Without this catch, Oakland continues the bottom of the eighth with a runner on second and a potential rally in hand. Instead, Cleveland went on to win in extra innings.
Three Big Things: The Week’s Biggest Dongs
Josh Naylor, 429 feet
The first home run of the season far has been the longest. This 429-foot dong by Josh Naylor gave the Guardians an early lead over Mariners pitcher Logan Gilbert.
Gabriel Arias, 422 feet
Gabriel Arias’s first home of the season could not have come at a better time. Down 2-1 in the fourth inning against the A’s, he belted this 422-foot homer to tie up the game. The Guardians would go on to win by one run.
Andrés Giménez, 406 feet
You won’t see the Guardians win on two solo home runs very often, but that was the case in