A rare Guardians start almost turned into an all-too-familiar Guardians finish as Clevend busted out to a 5-0 lead and nearly gave it away on several occasions. They held on, though — never fully giving up the lead despite some close calls — and avoided a sweep in San Diego with an 8-6 win.
The early outburst came courtesy of five first-inning hits, including three straight to start the game. Andrés Giménez, getting a rare lead-off opportunity with Steven Kwan on the bench, started things off with a single followed by singles from Amed Rosario and José Ramírez. It wasn’t until Josh Bell struck out that the Padres finally recorded an out, but Josh Naylor immediately picked up the slack with a single of his own to plate the first runs. Two batters later, David Fry joined the party with the first home run of his career to give the Guardians their much-needed 5-0 lead.
The top of the lineup carried the team tonight for the most part, combining to go 8-for-14. Naylor and Fry each helped with a pair of hits, of course, but Bell was an utter black hole in the clean-up spot, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
On the mound, Logan Allen had the worst outing of his young career and it wasn’t particularly close. His three innings were a career-low, his four walks were a career-high, and this is the second time he has allowed five or more earned runs in a start. Considering that other five-run start was his last — June 9 against the Astros — it’s fair to say he’s in a bit of a rut right now.
The results clearly weren’t there tonight, but at least he still had some shining moments, such as a few nasty, vanishing changeups that caught the eye of Pitching Ninja on Twitter.
Logan Allen, Nasty Changeups. pic.twitter.com/liClOrKKjk— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 16, 2023
That changeup accounted for three of his eight swings and misses on the night, which isn’t going to get it done on 77 pitches. Luckily, one bad game (even two in a row) doesn’t spell the end of his career. The Padres are a good lineup, and he’s a rookie. It happens.
On top of his prodigious offensive night — which included his first career home run and a narrowly missed follow-up in the eighth inning — rookie utilityman David Fry impressed behind the plate.
The one criticism I have, purely as the random guy sitting on his coach judging a professional athlete, is that his framing is wonky. Like the kind of thing you see a middle school coach proudly flaunting on Instagram as his player is jerking every single pitch to the dead center of the plate. It’s just not the kind of fluid, subtle framing that often turns balls into strikes. I’m pretty sure it cost Nick Sandlin a strike at least once, and maybe a few others I missed. Other than that minor gripe, Fry blocked and threw the ball well from behind the dish — not to mention this is a guy that isn’t an everyday catcher by trade. The fact that the Guardians continue to roster Cam Gallagher and Mike Zunino while Fry can play multiple positions, including catcher, is mind-boggling. And that’s not even mentioning that other Naylor guy still mashing in Triple-A.
At the very least, Fry proved tonight that he deserves a deeper look than he’s getting.
Emmanuel Clase finished out the game with a four-out save, casually hitting 102 mph in the ninth. Full credit to Terry Francona for turning to his closer with a runner on second and Manny Machado at the plate in the bottom of the eighth. He was fully within his right to leave Trevor Stephan in to face Machado, but he got aggressive and it paid off.
The Guardians avoided the sweep with a win and will head down to Arizona to face the Diamondbacks over the weekend.