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News and Notes: Guardians Overshadow White Sox in Home Opener

News and Notes for Tuesday, April 9th, 2024

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MLB: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Guardians David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

In a home opener people will be talking about for the rest of their lives, the Guardians shut out the White Sox 4-0.

Corey Kluber and Michael Brantley started festivities off with ceremonial first pitches:

Then, the White Sox looked as bad as advertised, making two official errors and a couple other plays that certainly could have been errors, and making the choice to pitch Bryan Shaw with Jose Ramirez at the plate, which turned out about how you’d expect:

This homer gave Ramirez the most home runs all-time as a Cleveland third baseman, surpassing Al Rosen. Steven Kwan (3 for 4), Josh Naylor (2 for 4) and Andres Gimenez (2 for 3 with a hit-by-pitch) had great games, again. David Fry cooled off going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts and Brayan Rocchio was also 0 for 4. The pitching was good again with Triston McKenzie going five and two-thirds scoreless, and then getting three and a third scoreless from Tim Herrin, Hunter Gaddis, Cade Smith and Emmanuel Clase (who struck out two). It was a little odd to me to see Austin Hedges start the home opener instead of Bo Naylor and to have Hedges remain in the game late when he came up with the bases loaded. I truly hope no one on the Guardians believes Hedges vs. a left-handed pitcher is a better matchup than Bo Naylor vs. left-handed pitching. But, hey, it didn’t end up factoring into the decision as Tom Hamilton raved about Hedges’ improved approach as the veteran catcher struck out feebly.

Some more good news: Tyler Freeman is taking well to centerfield:

Some middling news:

-Other teams are 0 for their last 40 against the Guardians with runners in scoring position. This isn’t sustainable, but it is nice to have happen for as long as the baseball gods will.
-McKenzie still struggled with command and gave up plenty of loud contact to a bad group of hitters. It was encouraging to see him hitting 93 mph but there is still plenty to work on. Nice for him to get some needed work against a tanking White Sox team.

Some bad news:

- Shane Bieber is sad

I think the Guardians can feel good about the overall fan experience of the solar eclipse in the park and the home opener. However, I did see some fans noting long lines, food and water shortages, noting the continued inaccessibility of new portions of the park (apparently at least one section is only for private group rentals?) but we will see how the renovations work when they are completed and as fans get used to the changes.

Also, for anyone who was dreaming of a Trevor Bauer return (NOT me), please note the following:

Don’t forget about Braden Montgomery in the race for the number one MLB draft pick:

But, there’s a reason Travis Bazzana was named National Hitter of the Month for March.

Around MLB:

The Tigers and Twins lost again.

The Padres came back from an eight-run deficit to beat the Cubs.

You can read a variety of think-pieces on the epidemic of pitcher injuries from Ben Lindbergh of the Ringer, Andy McCullough of the Athletic and of Jay Jaffe of Fangraphs.