Photo credit: USA Today

The Guardians scored six unanswered runs Thursday, including four in the 8th inning to blow past the Athletics 8-4, putting them back above .500 for the first time in nearly a month and giving them their 8th win in their last 10 games. 

Guardians (27-26) 8 – Athletics (20-39) 4. WP: Enyel De Los Santos (1-0), LP: Lou Trivino (1-5)

Kwan Starting to Heat Back Up

The month of May was not particularly kind to Steven Kwan. After being the AL Rookie of the Month in April, he had a cold month of May that saw him hit .173, with an OBP of .271 and a slugging percentage of .253. Compare that to April when he hit .353, and had an OBP of .459, and a slugging percentage of .500. There were differences in Kwan’s approach at the plate. He was a lot more protective, took a lot of first-pitch strikes, and his exit velocity was way down. Every rookie goes through this, it’s a time to really settle into the big leagues and adjust as you get more entuned, something Kwan echoed a lot. Well, he really seems to be picking it back up. Thursday night against the Athletics was easily his best of the month so far. Kwan went 3-4 with an RBI, a run and a stolen base. The three hits were his second-most hits in a game this season, with the other being when he went 5-5 against the Royals in the third game of the season. Over his last seven games, with all of them being during the month of June, Kwan is batting .353 with three RBI and three walks to go along with an obp of .400. He’s also got his overall batting average, which at one time sat as low as .238 in May, back up to .271. 

“There’s been a lot of support from the team,” Kwan said. “Hedgie, Gose, Cal, they’ve all been really supportive through all of this time. There was kind of a lool of confidence that came with it and they were just telling me to keep my head with it.”

Oscar’s Wild Hot Streak Continues

It seems like every day we talk more and more about Oscar Gonzalez, but he just keeps giving people more reasons to as he continues this incredible start to his major league career. 

“This is what I’ve been thinking about since when I was a kid,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve prepared for this. I just pray to God to be healthy and be able to play the best way that I can.”

Gonzalez started off the night by getting a hit to improve his hitting streak to seven games. The next time he was up, he got another hit, giving him already his seventh mutli-hit game in just his first 17 games in the majors with Cleveland. His third time up, guess what he did? Hit. This time it was an RBI single that cut an Athletics lead down to 4-3. That also gave him a new career high for hits in a game. Gonzalez came up for the fourth and final time in the 8th inning, where once again, he got a base hit, making him 4-4 on the night and the second Guardians rookie this season to go perfect hitting in a game with at least four hits, the other being Kwan when he went 5-5. 

“We came a long way together in the minors,” Gonzalez said. “We both had the mindset to come and play hard every day. I think that has helped both of this.”

He has amassed 21 hits in just his first 13 games in the majors and is batting .404, an absolutely incredible start. Keep in mind, this was only supposed to be a temporary assignment while Franmil Reyes was on the 10-day list. Safe to say Gonzalez has seized this opportunity and given the Guardians something to think about in regard to shifting a lineup that has a couple of hot bats in it. 

Two Potential All-Stars in the Infield 

Well, let’s get one thing out of the way first and that is José Ramírez will definitely be an All-Star. Heck, he’s the favorite to start at third base for the American League and for good reason. He reclaimed his place atop the MLB lead in RBI with number 55 on a solo home run in the fourth inning, his 15th of the season. Ramirez has only played 53 games this year as well. The man behind him, Pete Alonso of the New York Mets, has 54 in 58 games played. He also was intentionally walked, which he’s started to get a lot more of recently. However, there seems to possibly be another all-star in the infield as well. That player is none other than Andrés The Giant, Andrés Giménez. He played his natural position of shortstop on Thursday but is slated to be a second baseman in All-Star voting. Either way, Giménez has certainly made his case recently as an all-star talent. He’s made great plays in the field as a defender, supported by his top-five ranking in Defensive war ratings. His hitting has gotten much better and on Thursday, scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth when he singled home Oscar Mercado, giving him his 31st RBI of the season. His batting average is .309, and his ops is .875, both leading every player eligible to be voted as a possible starter at second base for the American League.

Francona Ejected

Manager Terry Francona usually gets ejected about once per year. Thursday night hopefully is the only time we’ll see an ejection involving Francona. It all occurred on a stolen base by Steven Kwan in the sixth inning. Sean Murphy’s throw to second base went passed and into the outfield. However, Athletics shortstop Elvis Andrus fell down on top of Kwan, and it took a bit for him to get up, which didn’t allow Kwan to advance to third and thus had to remain at second. Francona came out of the dugout to argue that it should be interference by the fielder. The umpire crew came together to talk about what they saw and decided that the play would stand. Francona was…. Not happy about it. Some words were said and Francona was ejected by third base umpire Paul Emmel. 

“I told all four of them they were wrong,” Francona explained. “Then I told them to tell the replay guy in New York I thought he was wrong too.”

The team seemed to get a spark from it.

“That gave us the energy we needed because then we wanted to win the game for him,” Gonzalez said. 

If there’s one silver lining to all of this, we’re hopefully going to get a breakdown video courtesy of Jomboy Media.

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