Add Freeman to the growing list of Guardians rookies to make impactful debuts
The Guardians bats came out to play today, taking the series final over the Diamondbacks, 7-4.
Among the Guardians who recorded hits (and there were a lot), was rookie Tyler Freeman, who singled and drew a walk in his MLB debut in front of family and friends at Progressive Field.
Freeman was informed that he made it to the majors with his Triple-A manager jokingly telling him that he was benched because didn’t hustle enough on a bloop single. He was hustling, of course (merely pulled from the game because he set to be promoted the next day), but he apparently took it to heart because he was almost thrown out trying to take a double on his first major-league hit. He thought better of it and turned to enjoy his first of hopefully many hits with a big smile on his face and a salute to his family in the stands.
Making sweeping observations based on one game is foolish
not that it’s ever stopped me before, but there is already a lot to like with Freeman’s approach. He chased a couple of balls high out of the zone but was able to foul them both off; otherwise, he stayed patient and soaked up pitches. His single was vintage Tyler Freeman — 75.8 mph down the line past the first baseman — but he also hit a flyout 94.6 mph so maybe there’s some hard-hitting potential there.
Every starter besides Myles Straw and Andrés Giménez recorded hits in the win, with Amed Rosario and Oscar Gonzalez leading the team with two apiece. Just saying they had two hits doesn’t do justice for what these two did, though.
Rosario hit an absolute bomb that would make Jim Thome proud. He took a slider from Arizona’s rookie starter and hit it back at 108.7 mph, and 450 feet to straight-away center field, according to Statcast.
Gonzalez pummeled the ball in both his hits as well, with one leaving the yard and another missing by inches. This sixth-inning blast — hit 108.6 mph and 402 feet — was Gonzalez’s third of the season and his first since returning from the injured list.
The seventh-inning double he hit was actually projected to go further (406 feet) at basically the same location. Unfortunately, it just didn’t have the lift and doinked off the left-field wall instead. If he’s going to survive in the league with a low walk rate and high strikeout rate, it goes without saying that he’s going to need more games like this.
On the mound, Shane Bieber was brilliant — mostly. He carried a perfect game through 3.1 innings before an Alek Thomas double-ended it. Bieber struck out eight over his six innings of work, allowing two earned runs off four hits. Thomas must have had him keyed up all game though because, on top of ending the perfect game with a scorching double, he homered in the sixth for the only real damage against Bieber.
I don’t know if it was on purpose or what, but Bieber was working in a lot of high curveballs early on, even some rare front-door curves against lefties. Intentional or not, it induced some swings and misses, although his slider did the heavy lifting with eight whiffs on 18 swings.
Hand up, full disclosure, I missed the last half-inning taking my daughter to cheer practice, and, upon seeing that Eli Morgan gave up two earned runs, I have decided to skip it and just enjoy the rest of the win.