CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Sometimes there’s a man. Maybe not a hero, because what’s a hero? But sometimes there’s a man for his time and place.
There is something to be said for being the right man at the right time, but there may not be a better hitter at the plate with the game tied and the bases loaded than Brandon Guyer.
The man who has led the league in times hit-by-pitch twice in as many years did just that. Pinch-hitting for second baseman Erik Gonzalez, Guyer proved to drive in the winning run in what was an ugly game for both sides in many regards.
Adding to the ugliness, Yan Gomes was hit to load the bases before Guyer moved things along.
No one was in love with the way it happened, but it was good enough for everybody in the clubhouse.
“There’s something to be said for plugging away,” Manager Terry Francona. “It’s probably not the way you draw it up, but when you hear the music playing in there after a game, it’s good.”
Guyer is obviously no stranger to wearing pitches, which provided a moment of levity for manager and player.
“It’s hard because you’re trying to go out there to check on him, but you’re so happy the run scored,” Francona added. “I think that’s why he started laughing.”
The opportunity for Guyer’s pitch-hit appearance, let alone the go-ahead plunking, would not have even happened if not for the team working their way out of tough situations. Perhaps maybe a little luck with some of the strikes given to Andrew Miller, including a hit batsmen of his own that was negated by a swinging strike in the 7th.
“I mean, that’s what good teams do, you find ways to win games,” Guyer said. “Not many times you are going to win a game on a hit-by-pitch, but we were able to do so because of the good at-bats, the good pitching. That’s what led to it.”
Grinding out wins is how teams work up win streaks, but Francona said it does not necessarily have to do with getting hit to load the bases, then do it again to bring in a run.
“That has nothing with winning games in a row, we just showed up and tried to win today,” he said. “We’ll do the same thing tomorrow. If a couple guys have to get hit, I guess we’ll take that too.”
Not many men can say they routinely get the best of Corey Kluber, but Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu can say it with relative certainty.
The pair entered Saturday a combined 25-of-69 (.362) against the Indians ace, before turning in a 5-for-9 night.
Abreu only had one hit in four attempts, but it was the most impactful hit of the night, a three-run home run in the third to put the White Sox in striking range.
Cabrera went 4-for-5 with a double and a run scored.
Kluber said the hitters just did their jobs.
“For Melky, he hit good pitches and bad pitches tonight,” he said. “He covers both sides of the plate, and like I said, he took advantage of when I made mistakes and Abreu ambushed a first-pitch fastball. I think he knows that guys are trying to get him out in and he jumped on one early.”
The Indians starter did not get the win, but the team did, moving to 56-0 in their last 56 games in which they give Kluber four-or-more runs of support.
The High-A Lynchburg Hillcats played a two-hour, 12 minute game to top the Winston-Salem Dash on Saturday. The reason was that Indians prospect Shao-Ching Chiang threw a no-hitter.
Chiang needed just 106 pitches to put down the Dash, allowing three baserunners on an error, a walk, and a hit batsmen.
The 23-year old right-hander is in his sixth year in the Indians organization, carrying a 3.96 ERA and 4.26 FIP in 18 starts in 2017. He has not had a season ERA over that 3.96 mark since his last year in rookie ball.
The Taiwan native signed with the Indians in 2011.