Guardians prove to be a tough team to discourage: Baseball Week

CLEVELAND, Ohio — On Wednesday, the Guardians came from behind to beat the Tigers by scoring six runs after striking out three straight to start the eighth inning. On Friday night, the G’s rallied again, scoring four runs against the White Sox with two outs in the seventh, which is the next best thing.

It has been said that the mark of a person’s greatness is not fortune or fame, but what it takes to discourage it. The Guardians are a tough team to discourage.

They trailed the Tigers 4-1 in the eighth inning when Owen Miller struck out, Andres Gimenez struck out and Luke Maile struck out to start the inning. But Maile reached first base on wild pitch. Six hits and a walk later, they had an 8-4 lead.

On Friday night, Nolan Jones retired to start the seventh inning with Cleveland trailing, 2-1. Maile doubled up, but Myles Straw was knocked out first. Three hits, three walks (one intentional) and a double steal later, the Guardians had a 5-2 lead.

The Guardians rank 14th in the AL in homers, but what they lack in power, they make up for in persistence. They are 27-12 in games decided from the seventh inning. They are 22-7 in games decided in their last at bat and 9-2 in extra innings.

“You can almost feel that air of tension in the stadium, especially when we come into these tight games late,” said Triston McKenzie, who hit a career-high 14 Friday night at Progressive Field. “You get to a certain point in the game where the fans can feel the energy, we can feel the energy and we all feel like we’re on the verge of something.”

McKenzie said the tension is coming in levels.

It started Friday in the seventh when rookie Steven Kwan tripled into the right corner of the field to tag Maile to make it 2-2. Amed Rosario followed with a single for a 3-2 lead to bring reliever Jake Dieman into the game for Reynaldo Lopez.

Jose Ramirez and Josh Naylor walked to load the bases. Then Gimenez scored a single through the left side of the infield for the third and fourth runs of the inning. There was another pitcher change, a double steal from Naylor and Gimenez and an intentional walk to Oscar Gonzalez before the end of the inning.

“The energy in the dugout is almost tenfold when we have the big guys in there,” McKenzie said. “Once we get into the lead with Rosario and Josie comes in, I think it’s another level. Then Naylor comes along and it’s another level. Then Gimenez arrives and it’s another level. Then they have a pitching change and Oscar comes in and the whole stadium is involved.

McKenzie finished after the seventh. He left with a career-high 14 strikeouts, but in line to take the loss. The seventh round rally made him a winner.

Said Kwan afterwards, “That’s where baseball is poetic. It goes for all of us. He definitely deserved the win there. We’re glad we were able to get that for him.

It was the Guardians’ 26th win this season and it didn’t hurt that Emmanuel Clase finished the game in ninth with his 22nd consecutive save and 28th for the season.

Not many expected the Guardians to play like this, especially three weeks into August. Finding a way to win and fight as 14 rookies make their league debut goes against common sense. But some things don’t make sense as long as those who do them believe them.

“I think that’s what we thought we were capable of,” right-hander Cal Quantrill said on the team’s last trip. “I’m not saying the media or the national media didn’t believe it, but for the most part people saw us as a middle team. We never felt that.

“I think we are here to stay. I don’t think it was a fluke. I think we know how to win baseball games. I think we’re a complete baseball team.

The road ahead

Starting Saturday, here’s how the three AL Central contenders’ schedules go in Saturday’s games:

Games remaining: Goalies 43, White Sox 42, Twins 45.

Games remaining in AL Central: Goalies 22, White Sox 24, Twins 26.

Records in AL Central: Goalies 31-23, White Sox 26-26, Twins 30-20.

Remaining games against Guardians: White Sox five, Twins eight.

Remaining games against the White Sox: Guardians five, Twins nine.

Games remaining against Twins: Goalies eight, White Sox nine.

Recordings: The Guardians are 9-5 against the White Sox and 6-5 against the Twins. The Twins are 6-4 against the White Sox. The White Sox are 5-9 against the Guardians and 4-6 against the Twins.

Names to remember

BY Bradley Zimmer, Cleveland’s first pick in 2014, was claimed off waivers by the Phillies after being released by Toronto last week. Zimmer started the year with Cleveland, but was DFA in April.

RHP Carlos Carrasco (13-5, 3.52), who pitched for Cleveland from 2009-20, will miss three to four weeks for the Mets with a strained left oblique.

FROM Alex’s callwho made his major league debut with the Guardians this season before being DFA on Aug. 5, hit his first league homer Friday night for Washington off San Diego closer to Josh Hader.

Guardians goods for sale: This is where you can order new Cleveland Guardians gear including t-shirts, hats, jerseys, hoodies and more.

If you or a loved one have questions and need to speak to a gambling professional, call the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966 or the from the National Council on Program Gambling (NCPG) at 1-800-522-4700.

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