Two teams struggling for runs encounter impressive rookie left-handers when the Cleveland Guardians and host San Francisco Giants wrap up a three-game interleague series on Wednesday afternoon.
The Guardians’ Logan Allen (7-7, 3.68 ERA) and the Giants’ Kyle Harrison (1-1, 4.87), both high-round products of the 2020 draft, will not only go head-to-head for the first time in their budding careers but also will face the opponent for the first time.
The teams approach the game with different incentives.
The Guardians (69-77) retain longshot hopes of completing a 10th winning season in their last 11. They would need to win 13 of their final 16 games to do so.
Meanwhile, the Giants (74-71) begin the day tied with the Miami Marlins for fifth place in the race for three National League wild card. Just five games separate the six teams.
The Giants had a chance to move within a half-game of the third wild-card spot on Tuesday but mustered only six hits against Cal Quantrill and three relievers in a 3-1 loss.
Cleveland’s Myles Straw, who made a leaping catch at the fence in center field in the ninth inning, downplayed his own heroics while calling good defense a team thing with the Guardians.
“It’s kinda cool to look cool sometimes,” he said. “But coming out and playing good defense, that’s something we show as a whole. That’s the kind of stuff that wins baseball games, and that’s the kind of team that we got.”
At the same time, Giants manager Gabe Kapler lamented one that got away and pointed to some sloppy defense on his team’s part, combined with some impressive plays made by the Guardians, as having tilted the balance on Tuesday.
“This is not a time to get frustrated. There’s not much time to wallow in what happened tonight.” he said. “They just played a cleaner defense than us, and it’s not a surprise that that was the difference in the game.”
Coming off a three-game home sweep of the Colorado Rockies during which they totaled 24 runs, the Giants scored three times in the first three innings during the Monday opener against Cleveland. However, they didn’t score again until getting two in the last of the 10th to pull out a 5-4 win.
The only run they scored on Tuesday came in the fifth.
The Giants have totaled just four extra-base hits in the series, including home runs by Mike Yastrzemski and Blake Sabol, while going 4-for-22 with runners in scoring position.
Hoping to continue the Guardians’ impressive pitching will be Allen, a second-round pick in 2020 out of Florida International. The 25-year-old snapped a three-game winless streak with five innings of three-hit, one-run ball in a 6-3 road win over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday in his most recent start.
The Guardians’ hitters haven’t done their pitchers many favors in the series. Nobody other than Josh Naylor, who homered and doubled in the Monday loss, has recorded an extra-base hit, while the team has gone just 3-for-19 with runners in scoring position.
Next they will see Harrison, a third-round pick in 2020 out of De La Salle High in the Oakland suburb of Concord. He started but got no decision in a 9-8 home win over the Rockies in his Friday start, allowing four runs (three earned) in five innings.
–Field Level Media
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