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Jun 2, 2024 7:34 am

Guardians face Nationals, seek 10th straight home win

jose ramirez

The Washington Nationals are the latest team caught in the buzz saw of the Cleveland Guardians’ recent dominance at home.

Looking to complete a three-game series sweep of the Nationals, the American League Central-leading Guardians will aim for a 10th straight home victory Sunday afternoon.

Sitting 20 games over .500, Cleveland improved to 20-6 at home with Saturday’s 3-2 win over Washington. Jose Ramirez had two infield hits and scored what proved to be the decisive run from second base on a wild pitch in the third inning to eventually give the Guardians their longest home winning stretch since 2017.

“We appreciate the energy,” Ramirez said of the home crowd. “We’re feeling it.”

Showing he can do it with the long ball or even find success when the ball doesn’t leave the infield, Ramirez is batting .344 with a .411 OBP and 24 runs in his last 25 games. He leads the team with 16 home runs and has a major-league-best 57 RBIs.

“I love watching that guy play,” first-year Guardians manager Stephen Vogt said of Ramirez. “We are still wowed every day.”

Meanwhile, Cleveland pitchers have a 3.28 ERA during the club’s current 15-3 overall stretch. Guardians starters own a 2.66 ERA and have struck out 50 with 11 walks during the nine-game home winning streak.

Veteran Carlos Carrasco (2-4, 5.16 ERA) appears set to help Cleveland continue that home success Sunday, when he’s slated to come off the injured list from a bout with neck spasms and make the start. The right-hander, who last pitched May 15, posted a 3.00 ERA in three May starts.

Carrasco is 2-3 with a 5.13 ERA in eight starts vs. Washington.

Ex-Guardians player Eddie Rosario is batting .325 with three homers and two doubles against Carrasco. Meanwhile, Nationals teammate Luis Garcia Jr. is 5-for-9 against him.

With two hits Saturday after going 3-for-4 in Washington’s 7-1 loss to the Guardians on Friday, Garcia is 10-for-19 in five career games vs. Cleveland.

However, Washington has totaled just three runs, 10 hits and struck out 17 times in two games at Cleveland. The Nationals averaged 4.9 runs while winning five of seven games entering this series.

Sunday’s scheduled Washington starter, Jake Irvin (2-5, 3.43 ERA), has a 2.55 ERA over his past six starts but is 1-3 while the Nationals have gone 1-5 during those outings. Washington has totaled just nine runs over the last five starts by the right-hander — all defeats.

Irvin, though, is coming off the best start of his season Tuesday at Atlanta, when he allowed two hits and two walks while striking out a career-high 10 in six scoreless innings. However, the Nationals fell 2-0 to the Braves, with Irvin taking a no-decision.

“It was just a good, steady mix,” Irvin, who is 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA in seven 2024 road starts, said after that outing. “We executed pretty well, and it leads to good things.”

Washington again could be without a pair of key contributors for this series finale. Shortstop CJ Abrams was scratched from Saturday’s starting lineup due to a shoulder issue, while center fielder and leadoff hitter Jacob Young exited during the game with an apparent hand injury.

–Field Level Media

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