Can’t win ‘em all I suppose
Let’s talk about foreshadowing.
In the early innings of tonight’s 9-5 loss to the Oakland A’s, Matt Underwood and Rick Manning took time to interview former Cleveland reliever Tony Sipp. If you missed it because you were listening to Tom Hamilton or watching the A’s broadcast or something, I highly recommend going back and watching. It was a great interview with a great guy.
Anyway, at one point in the discussion, Sipp talked about how hard it can be for a pitcher to get that third out following a two-out error on defense. Sometimes pitchers, especially young ones, might mentally breathe a sigh of relief and suddenly they have to find a way to “lock back in” and get the out.
Smash cut to the seventh inning of a 5-3 game tonight when Seth Brown hit a go-ahead grand slam following a botched throw from Josh Naylor that would have ended the inning on a double play. The error (henceforth referred to as “Naylor’s Boner” in accordance with baseball tradition) would have shut down the A’s and further demoralized a team that lost 10 straight games. Instead, a run scored, another got on base two batters later, and a slam was granned. It was the exact same scenario that Tony Sipp described in the booth mere innings earlier, laid out as a painful real-time example.
The pitch that ultimately doomed Morgan probably wasn’t located where he wanted it — a 92.8 mph fastball right along the top of the zone. Brown hit it back over 107 mph and essentially ended the A’s 10-game nightmare with one swing. Sure, Morgan could have made a couple better pitches, but it’s a total moot conversation if the defense comes through. It’s a situation that everyone will no doubt learn from going forward.
That inning — and that one pitch — was obviously the turning point of the game, but there were a lot of good Guardians things. Maybe more than you’d usually expect in a loss, even.
For one, starting Gold Glove shortstop Zach Plesac made an amazing play.
Zach Plesac with a beautiful jump throw! pic.twitter.com/XBJn8fPPM3
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 11, 2022
When Plesac was at his secondary position (pitcher) he didn’t have a bad day, either. Not exactly shutdown stuff with only two strikeouts and eight hits in six innings, but it’s the kind of outing he needs to get back into a rhythm, if such a thing exists. He threw 88 pitches in the outing, 35 of which were four-seamers to go with 24 sliders, 19 changeups, and 10 curveballs.
Another positive was José Ramírez — just everything about him, but mostly this heads up (and helmet off) bit of baserunning.
Yesterday: José Ramírez’s home run sparks game-winning rally in 9th.
Today: José Ramírez’s hustle sparks go-ahead rally in 4th.
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) June 11, 2022
And finally, Oscar Gonzalez watch resumes, because this kid is amazing. As I said in Thursday’s recap, the thing to watch for with Gonzalez will be how he adjusts to off-speed pitches. He only saw one slider tonight, but he hit it for a 108.4 mph double in the eighth inning. His hardest hit of the night (as well as the hardest hit by a Guardian in the game) was a 109.8 mph single in the fourth.
On top of being absolutely locked in at the plate, you can hear people singing along to the SpongeBob theme he uses as his walk-up music. And, speaking personally, my three-year-old absolutely loses his mind when he hears the music and it’s the only at-bats he ever watches. Not to exaggerate here, but Oscar Gonzalez is going to singlehandedly save the spot of baseball. Calling it now.