Of course, I love it when the Guardians slap-hitting machine is working in full force and making other fanbases miserable. But you know what else I love, at least on occasion?
Big ‘ole game-changing dingers, which is exactly what Josh Naylor provided with this three-run, 376-foot bomb in the bottom of the eight with his team trailing by two.
JOSH NAYLOR PUTS THE GUARDIANS ON TOP WITH A 3-RUN BOMB! #ForTheLand pic.twitter.com/JopXG2nhyi— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) May 14, 2023
I still think the Guardians offense can work the way it is set up, but Naylor needs to start doing this more often. So does Andrés Giménez (who hit his own home run later in the eighth to add on to the lad), José Ramírez, and Josh Bell. The lineup is always going to be predominantly light-hitting, base-to-base demons, but the dingers need to fall from the guys who can hit them if they’re going to succeed as they did tonight.
Per our very own Blake Ruane, this is the first time the Guardians have scored eight runs in a month and a half. That’s not sustainable, to say the least. Even this one wasn’t a flawless game by any means. Multiple baserunning mistakes, a couple of fielding errors — all the kinds of things you can overcome with a well-timed gift to the outfield seats.
It wasn’t all the homers, though. Steven Kwan and Amed Rosario topped off the lineup with three hits apiece, while Naylor and Ramírez each added a pair. As a team, the Guards only stranded four runners and were 5-for-9 with runners in scoring position. I don’t even have to look to know those are some of their better marks this season.
On the mound, Cal Quantrill recovered from a lead-off home run to turn in a very on-brand performance. If his last start was peak Quantrillion, this was more of a bread-and-butter kind of start — at his best, we can expect many of these as he eventually settles into a solid No. 5 starter.
As he has been doing all season, Quantrill threw a treasure trove of pitches, leading with his sinker (34 times), cutter (31), curveball (15), and that shiny new splitter (14). He also mixed in nine changeups and four four-seamers. The splitter was hit hard its only time put into play but hit straight into the ground for an easy out.
Quantrill had a handful of walks in a wild third inning, and while he put the home run behind him quickly, it can’t be discounted. In other words, turning to the CALQUAMETER, on a scale of “Forgot About Mother’s Day Until The Last Second Cal” to “Planned Ahead for Months Cal”, it ranks about here:
The win brings the Guardians within 3.5 games of the Twins for you sicko May scoreboard watchers (seek help), and they will be up bright and early for an 11:35 a.m. start on Peacock tomorrow.