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N&N: Kole Calhoun Wins the Hearts of Guardians Fans Everywhere

News and Notes for Thursday, August 31st, 2023

Cleveland Guardians v Minnesota Twins

The Guardians took two out of three in Minnesota behind a solid start from Tanner Bibee, a great performance by the Cleveland bullpen, and the late inning heroics - again - of Kole Calhoun.

Before Calhoun’s three-run home run in the top of the 10th (off a left-handed reliever), Tanner Bibee struck out 8 Twins in 5 innings, Cody Morris threw two scoreless, and James Karinchak, and Trevor Stephan each put up a shutout inning (the resurgent Stephan struck out the side in order). Emmanuel Clase had a dominant bottom of the 10th to secure the victory for Cleveland.

Kwan had a couple hits, as did Will Brennan, and Gabriel Arias added a key hustle double to set up Kwan’s single to tie the game in the top of the 8th. Since the day Amed was traded, Arias has a 98 wRC+ and has played excellent defense wherever asked to do so.

Bo Naylor was patient enough to allow Duran to throw a wild pitch and score Andres Gimenez who had taken a walk and advanced on a Brennan single, a play which has led people on Twitter who don’t know MLB rules to question if Naylor swung. He clearly had no intent to swing as he fell down trying to avoid the ball, so the umpire’s call of “no-swing” was entirely correct.

The big moment, though, was Kole Calhoun doing what hitters should do, more often, with 3-0 pitches thrown just to get a strike - hit it into the seats. And, now, I am able to see the value of giving at-bats to Calhoun over Oscar Gonzalez, Brayan Rocchio and Tyler Freeman. A veteran setting an example and helping keep a young team in the fringes of a playoff race later into the season was a great idea by the Cleveland front office and Terry Francona, and I repent of my doubting and wanting to emphasize development, instead. Sometimes, development is watching a professional, veteran hitter go about his business and being inspired to do the same.

The Guardians are now five games in back of the Twins after a 4-2 road trip, with the Rays coming to Cleveland on Friday. Glasnow vs. Quantrill doesn’t seem like a favorable matchup, but Littell vs. Allen and TBD vs. Curry are toss-ups, so, let’s see if the good guys can win another series.

No word yet on Gavin Williams’ knee issue, but the news sounds generally positive so far.

I can’t tell you how to spend your money, but I will mention that the latest Patreon episode of the Selby is Godcast from Zack Meisel and T.J. Zuppe offered some great insights into what Terry Francona has meant to Cleveland and ideas about what the team should look for in his replacement. Meisel and Zuppe do such a great job in the podcast, in general.

Around the Minor-Leagues:

The Clippers lost 6-1, but George Valera had a couple hits, Kyle Manzardo had a hit and another out hit over 100 mph, and Johnathan Rodriguez had a double. The Rubber Ducks lost 5-2, Angel Martinez had two hits including a triple and Will Dion struck out 8 in 4 innings while giving up 2 runs. The Lake County Captains somehow put up twelve hits and lost 3-2, with Chase DeLauter going 4 for 5 with a double, Dayan Frias going 3 for 4 with a double, a walk and a steal, and Ryan Webb striking out 8 batters in five innings and giving up 2 runs. One has to wonder when DeLauter and his .982 OPS are going to make their way to Akron. Finally, the Hillcats completed the rough day for affiliates with a 9-6 loss, featuring a 4 for 5 performance from Angel Genao and yet another triple from Guy Lipscomb. Jackson Humphries is at least mildly interesting as a pitching prospect in Lynchburg and while he gave up 4 runs on 4 hits and a walk in four innings, he also struck out 9.

Around MLB:

FanGraphs’ Jon Becker tried to make sense of the rash of waived players from Wednesday around MLB.

The Dodgers have won 24 games in August, somehow more than the Mariners’ 21.

Michael Brantley is back and the Astros are still very good.

The last place New York Yankees are calling up all their top prospects, like last place teams do in September.