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News and Notes: Walk-Off Win Clinches Series

News and Notes for Thursday, April 11th, 2024

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

The Guardiac Kids have done it again: a nail biting walk off win versus the Chicago White Sox. After recovering from a 5-0 deficit two nights in a row the Cleveland Guardians were able to materialize a win and have improved their record to 9-3 putting them 1.5 games ahead of the Tigers and Royals.

Tanner Bibee had the start going only 4.1 innings and giving up 6 hits, 5 runs, and 3 walks with a paltry 2 strikeouts. In his 3rd start of the season Bibee was not the lights out pitcher fans saw against the Twins. However, catcher Bo Naylor took advantage of the home plate umpire’s ambiguous definition of a strike zone to put on a framing masterclass, helping his starting pitcher. While I am not personally concerned with Bibee’s outing against the White Sox, it does not strike inspiration that two sophomore starters have given up 5 runs in back to back games. Uncertain starters will continue to force rookie manager Steven Vogt to rely on the bullpen to finish out the game.

Which the bullpen did in this game. Nick Sandlin finished the 5th inning with 1 K, 0 H, and 0 BB. Tim Herrin and Cade Smith continued the pitching momentum through the 6th and 7th innings. Herrin saw 3 up and sent 3 down in a confident appearance showing a nice mix of his curveball, slider, sinker, and four-seam fastball. Smith continued to impress with a four-seam fastball that hit 96.7 mph in his 13 pitch 7th inning.

Tyler Beede made his first appearance since Saturday and only gave up 1 H with 2 K in the 8th inning, setting up All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase for the 9th. Clase gave up a first pitch double to pinch hitter Paul DeJong and then recorded a fielding error after second baseman Nicky Lopez hit a sac bunt straight to the pitcher. Clase was unable to come up with the ball leading to Lopez reaching 1st base. Brayan Rocchio was able to turn two in a delightful double play ground ball in the following at bat spoiling any potential momentum for Chicago.

White Sox starting pitcher Erick Fedde (RHP) proved to be a worthy opponent for the fiery Cleveland offense. Steven Kwan was the first to get a hit in the game, but Kwan’s hit and Bo Naylor’s walk in the 2nd would be the only time a Guardian would reach base. That is, until Josh Naylor came up to bat in the 4th inning.

Josh Naylor continues to be the catalyst in the powder keg that is this line up. If the other batters are unable to create a spark, he will make one himself and continue to ignite the spirits of this team to start a rally. At a 105.9 mph exit velocity, Josh launched a home run 432 ft to the bullpen to put the Guardians on the board.

With one out Ramón Laureano was hit by pitch, tying Andrés Giménez on the season in being hit by pitch at 5 each. Then, on National Siblings Day, Bo Naylor hit his 2nd home run of the season 416 ft to center field.

Going into the 5th inning rejuvenated, the Guardians were down by 2 with one out when Steven Kwan came up to bat. After getting a called strike on an 89.4 mph cutter from Fedde, Kwan found himself with his second home run of the season, hitting the ball 395 ft to the bullpen seating.

In the bottom of the 5th inning the Guardians had the bases loaded from a Josh Naylor reach on error, a Will Brennan walk, and a Laureano walk. From here White Sox manager Pedro Grifol pulled the starting pitcher in favor of lefty Tanner Banks. After striking out Bo Naylor, Banks hit pinch hitter David Fry, bringing in a run to tie the game.

All was quiet offensively for both teams through the 9th inning. Eli Morgan came out in the 10th inning with the ghost runner on 2nd base. First baseman Gavin Sheets (3 for 5 on the night) doubled, driving in a run, putting the White Sox back on top. Eli was able to lock in from here, throwing out the designated hitter Kevin Pillar on a sac bunt that allowed Sheets to take 3rd. The next two batters struck out bringing Cleveland’s 3-4-5 hitters up to bat with Bryan Shaw on the mound.

Andrés Giménez was Cleveland’s ghost runner to start the bottom of the 10th. After José Ramírez flied out to the first baseman, Josh Naylor was up to bat. Somehow Naylor was able to get the bat on a 82 mph up and out changeup from Shaw to drive in a run on a sharp double (107.4 mph) to center field. Will Brennan found himself in a 1-1 count after the ump gave him a free ball. Shaw then threw another ball which had Grifol making the call to intentionally walk Brennan on a 2-1 count. Laureano singled, moving pinch runner Tyler Freeman to 3rd and Brennan to 2nd. Bo Naylor drove in the winning run with a single on a line drive to right field for an electric walk off hit - the first of his career.

Final Score: CLE 7 - CWS 6

Cleveland Guardians News:

Xzavion Curry made another rehab start tonight for the Columbus Clippers.

Guardians trade International Slot Money to the Toronto Blue Jays for RHP Wes Parsons.

Around the League (and beyond):

Orioles star prospect Jackson Holliday makes a big splash in his major league debut.

Randy Arozarena scores from 2nd on a wild pitch in Tampa Bay win against the Angels.

Jillian Albayati became the first Division II athlete to play both a softball and baseball game on the same day.