I’ll get to the offense, I promise. But what a performance by Logan Allen — let’s start there.
Allen was dominant in the series-opening win today, holding Baltimore to just three hits over seven innings. Considering how impressive his swing-and-miss ability was through his first six starts, it’s surprising that this was his first double-digit strikeout game, but he finally crossed that mark with 10. He got there with 42 four-seamers, 25 changeups, 24 sliders, and 12 cutters. The sweeping slider was especially impressive, inducing seven swings and misses alone.
I could show you Allen’s release point chart again, but trust me that it’s flawless as ever as his mechanics today were on-point. Here’s another fun thing to look at, though; another way that he gets to 10 strikeouts without any traditionally “nasty” pitches in his repertoire. He attacked the zone — as he always does — and he refused to let batters settle into a groove. Just look at his pitch selection by count.
His first-pitch usage alone looks like a minimalist Burger King logo as he mixed in all four of his pitches effectively. And once he got ahead in the count, there was never a way to know what was coming. It was a very veteran, Shane Bieber-like approach out there today. Some of that might be because Cam Gallagher was behind the plate, but that’s neither here nor there.
As for the offense, well, they were incredible — at least by their own standards. It was an above-average outing for most teams, but it was an unbelievably dominant performance for the 2023 Cleveland Guardians. The scoreboard may only say they plated five runs, but adjust for Guardflation they scored at least 20 today.
Almost all of the firepower came from the bottom of the lineup, save for a pair of hits for Steven Kwan and one from José Ramírez. The other six came from the bottom third of the order: Myles Straw, Will Brennan, and Gallagher. Amed Rosario may not have technically had a hit, but his 106.1 mph ground ball helped cap off a big seventh inning for the Guardians, where they scored four of their five runs this afternoon. The Orioles infield forgetting how to throw and catch also helped that inning.
In all honesty, the offense came alive today because they finally had some luck on their side. They only had nine hits and one walk, but they were able to get all those hits in the same inning. Mix in some aggressive baserunning that pressed the Orioles defense, and you’ve got some old-school (i.e. 2022) disgusting brand of baseball cooking.
Today was the first time the Guards scored more than four runs since they scored nine on May 19 — a crushing loss to the Mets you may recall. It’s the first time they’ve scored more than four and won since May 13 against the Angels. Tomorrow they have a chance to score five or more runs in back-to-back games for the first time since April 28-29.