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2024 Season | Series #12 | Tigers @ Guardians | May 6-8, 2024

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Wham with the Right Hand

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After winning the series against the Angels 2-1 the Guardians stay home to host the Detroit Tigers for the first games between these teams this season. Detroit, a young up-and-coming team that finished second in the A.L. Central last year, is off to a good start at 18-16. However, they were just swept in New York by the Yankees, scoring just six runs in the three games.

The Guardians are fortunate not to face the Tigers’ ace, Tarik Skubal, in this series. Skubal is 4-0 with a 1.90 ERA. He pitched Sunday, striking out 12 Yankees in a losing effort.

The Tigers are a good pitch, bad hit team, ranking 19th in runs per game and 22nd to 24th in OBP, slugging percentage, OPS, ISO, K%, XBH%, and wRC+.

Their best every day hitters are Riley Greene (.269/.935), Mark Canha (.254/.827), and Matt Vierling (.287/.771). Greene has 8 homers but only 16 RBI’s, which shows how much trouble they’ve had putting runners on base. Wenceel Perez, a rookie, is hitting .302/.949 in just 53 AB’s.

Pitching is a different story as the Tigers rank 4th in ERA and WHIP, 5th lowest in walk percentage, and 2nd lowest in extra base hit percentage. They are 11th in K/9 and are above average in opponents’ home run percentage. Their bullpen is 6th in ERA. They were swept in New York by scores of 2-1, 5-3, and 5-2, illustrating both their strong pitching and marginal offense.

Triston McKenzie takes on Jack Flaherty, a 28-year-old right-hander, in the opener. Flaherty is an eight-year vet who spent his first six years with the Cardinals. His career mark is 42-35, 3.76 ERA. This year he is 0-4 with a 4.00 ERA in six starts. But in his last start he went 6.2 innings against his old team, shutting them out on two hits. Before that game his ERA was 4.91.

Flaherty has been very good from the windup; not so much from the stretch. With RISP opponents are hitting .360/1.047 and with RISP and two outs it’s .500/1.563. Obviously the key is to get runners in scoring position because he has been awful in those situations.

Triston is 2-2, 4.34 ERA and is also coming off his best start of the season, a seven-inning, two-run outing against the Astros. Current Tigers are 3-for-34 lifetime against him. He has owned these guys.

So the first game could be a low scoring affair and the other two games look the same. Game 2 is Logan Allen, also coming off his best start of the year, against Kenta Maeda, who is 1-1, 5.02 ERA. Game 3 will be Tanner Bibee against 24-year-old right-hander Reese Olson, who has a 2.70 ERA but is 0-4 due to no run support.

The Guardians have been inconsistent scoring runs recently due to in large part to slumps by Jose Ramirez and Josh Naylor. But they both homered yesterday so hopefully they will get back to being the highly productive hitters they were in April. They will need to be if Steven Kwan and his .353 batting average are out for a while.

The Guardians have been on a mini-slugging spree. They have scored 11 runs in the last two games, all on home runs. Even Hedgie hit one. And hopefully more slugging is on the way as the Kyle Manzardo era starts tomorrow.

The Guardians are 4.0 games ahead of the 4th place Tigers.
 
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This series and the next is the perfect time to build up our cushion before we have to face the defending champs in their ballpark.
 
The Guards have only played two games vs the ALC contenders, two wins vs Minnesota. But now the division begins to get interesting, starting with this series vs Detroit.

Cleveland is 2-0 vs Minnesota.

Minnesota is...

0-2 vs Cleveland.
3-4 vs Detroit
2-1 vs KC

KC is...

1-2 vs Minnesota
1-2 vs Detroit

Detroit is...

4-3 vs Minnesota
2-1 vs KC

*********

Cleveland has played the White Sox three times. The others have played them seven times.

********

Cleveland is 11-7 vs teams with winning records.

Minnesota is 9-14.
KC is 4-8
Detroit is 9-11

*******

Cleveland has played 15 at home...19 away.

Minn has played 15 at home...18 away.

KC has played 20 at home...15 away.

Detroit has played 17 at home...17 away.

******

Cleveland has banked some early wins, and has only 12 losses.

Minnesota has 14 losses.
KC has 15.
Detroit has 16.

*********

We usually don't talk about these things in May, but all of this stuff matters, as long as the race remains close.
 
Kwan being out is going to hurt a ton.

That said, the next 7 games are against Detroit and Chicago (4) and are winnable games.

Really gotta try to get 5/7 here.
 
Not having Kwan hurts big time, and Manzardo can't make up for it.

Notice what WHAM wrote about Riley Greene.

To go further, Greene has had 23 PAs w/RISP and is hitting .300. He's had 47 PAs w/runners on and is hitting .359. Only 16 RBIs.

Compare to Nails, 48 PAs w/RISP and hitting .275....73 PAs w/runners on and hitting .279...26 RBIs.

Compare to Jose, 46 PAs w/RISP and hitting .275...79 w/runners on and hitting .278....27 RBIs.

Kwan has been on base 56 times, many of which were in front of Nails and/or Jose. Hits, esp XBHs, count a lot more with runners on.
 
With Kwan out and an inconsistent rotation and lineup, I expect a prolonged run of 500ish baseball, which will be frustrating to watch at times, so this 10 games over 500 mark is a good one to set your sights on in order not to lose faith for this season.

 10 games over 500 should be our new 500. With that I mean it's the line I wouldn't like to fall too deep off and ideally keep our heads above water.

That way, we could go 500 rest of the way and end up 86-76, giving us a shot at the postseason deep into the season.
 
Best possible Clipper to replace Kawn: Kyle Manzardo

Worst possible Clipper to replace Kwan: you guessed it, Myles Straw
 
Kwan being out may or may not be a huge loss. Maybe Manzardo hits the ground running and Brennan gets hot. You cannot replace Kwan's ability to get on base, but they might be able to cover the gap with a bit more slugging. It will be interesting to see what happens and in the end this might be a blessing when Kwan does return. I'm looking at it like an opportunity to see who might be able to help us going forward.

For S&G's, what happens if the offensive output maintains or improves with Kwan's absence? I'm not suggesting that's going to happen, but it might be an interesting conversation.
 
With Kwan out and an inconsistent rotation and lineup, I expect a prolonged run of 500ish baseball, which will be frustrating to watch at times, so this 10 games over 500 mark is a good one to set your sights on in order not to lose faith for this season.

 10 games over 500 should be our new 500. With that I mean it's the line I wouldn't like to fall too deep off and ideally keep our heads above water.

That way, we could go 500 rest of the way and end up 86-76, giving us a shot at the postseason deep into the season.
Wait a minute. We're 22-12. As Cats pointed out, we're 11-7 against winning teams. We've played 19 games on the road and 15 at home. We have the best bullpen in baseball with Morgan and Hentges ready to return. Gavin Williams is working his way back. Jose is hitting well below his career numbers.

Carrasco, Allen, and McKenzie are coming off their best starts. Lively has had four good starts in four tries.

And you're hoping we can go .500 the rest of the way and have a "shot at the postseason"?

I'm a little more optimistic than that. No doubt Kwan has been playing great but I don't think his loss by itself takes us from 22-12 to a .500ish team.
 
Kwan being out may or may not be a huge loss. Maybe Manzardo hits the ground running and Brennan gets hot. You cannot replace Kwan's ability to get on base, but they might be able to cover the gap with a bit more slugging. It will be interesting to see what happens and in the end this might be a blessing when Kwan does return. I'm looking at it like an opportunity to see who might be able to help us going forward.

For S&G's, what happens if the offensive output maintains or improves with Kwan's absence? I'm not suggesting that's going to happen, but it might be an interesting conversation.
Say Manzardo hits the cover off…for more than a couple games . Kwan returns….heres what i think we know:
1) kwan gets LF back
2) Manzardo stays up and stays playing at the same rate.

I think the adjustment comes from a mix of Laureano or Freeman or Florial. Brennan has provided a measure of safety for himself compared to the others.
 
Kwan being out may or may not be a huge loss.
Not sure if serious.... Nah, it's a huge loss. We can debate whether Kwan will keep this up, but losing what has been Prime Rod Carew for the first month of the season is a big loss.
Maybe Manzardo hits the ground running and Brennan gets hot.
The first one is a maybex the 2nd one is Will Brennan. He's looked better than last year, but let's not go crazy here. He's ran into a few but is the same Poor Mans Oddibe McDowell.
You cannot replace Kwan's ability to get on base, but they might be able to cover the gap with a bit more slugging. It will be interesting to see what happens and in the end this might be a blessing when Kwan does return. I'm looking at it like an opportunity to see who might be able to help us going forward.
Nah, getting on base before the clubs only two power sources is a big reason this offense has gone from league worst to pretty effective.
For S&G's, what happens if the offensive output maintains or improves with Kwan's absence? I'm not suggesting that's going to happen, but it might be an interesting conversation.
If this happens, then you start looking into taking out a second mortgage to bet on the Gs on your favorite sports betting app, because Kwans OBP added back to a lineup with more pop is a lineup that can contend.
 
To the point above.... Kwan is responsible for 28 runs scored being in leadoff. Take his 400 OBP for Florial .280 ish and that is over 1/3 less times on base for our Jose and Josh tandem. That is 9 runs over 32 games so about .3 runs per game we are losing. Only hope is for Man to become a Man and take over the 2 slot and have Gimenez take the leadoff role. At least he is .336 which isn't great but better than Florial

#NameTeamG

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

BB%

K%

ISO

BABIP

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

xwOBA

wRC+

BsR

Off

Def

WAR

1Steven KwanCLE321453281137.6%7.6%.143.370.353.407.496.399.3551630.811.32.41.9
2José RamírezCLE331476222756.1%11.6%.185.219.230.279.415.298.290940.3-0.60.50.5
3Andrés GiménezCLE321431181844.9%14.7%.087.311.270.338.357.315.306105-0.40.53.10.9
4Tyler FreemanCLE291103171238.2%17.3%.137.203.189.291.326.280.31182-0.7-3.0-0.70.0
5Josh NaylorCLE321368162629.6%12.5%.263.253.271.353.534.377.382148-1.65.9-2.10.8
6Brayan RocchioCLE301090144511.0%18.3%.085.267.213.306.298.279.29281-0.1-2.50.20.1
7Will BrennanCLE29984131125.1%14.3%.176.243.242.286.418.301.315960.2-0.2-0.50.2
8Bo NaylorCLE2696399112.5%38.5%.119.273.179.281.298.264.24771-0.7-3.93.80.3
9Gabriel AriasCLE227319831.4%31.5%.127.340.239.260.366.276.267790.6-1.2-2.0-0.1
10David FryCLE2168199116.2%23.5%.135.432.327.456.462.401.333164-1.13.9-1.30.5
11Ramón LaureanoCLE237216439.7%36.1%.102.242.153.292.254.263.27670-0.1-2.5-0.6-0.1
12Estevan FlorialCLE2168359210.3%39.7%.217.300.200.284.417.310.2531020.30.4-0.40.2
13Austin HedgesCLE103112510.0%35.5%.133.158.133.129.267.167.12950.3-3.12.10.0
 
For the last week.. Rocchio has been putting up a 0.385 OBP.. something to consider...
 
...looks like "the Manz" is going to be in the bottom third of the lineup and will get to hit, only, tonight..
 

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