Game Recap 6/29/23 | Guardians Lose 4-3 vs. Royals

June 29, 2023

Andy Billman

Observations from the Game

3 things about Guardians’ 4-3 loss to Kansas City Royals:

1 – Bullpen implosion 

Guards had a 2-0 lead heading into the 8th inning when Trevor Stephan gave up the lead leaving the game tied at 2.  Stephan had a tough week in KC, giving up three runs in two appearances. Emmanuel Clase also gave up two runs, one earned, in the 10th on a walk-off double by Freddy Fermin. 

2 – JRAM steals home 

Jose Ramirez did the unthinkable by stealing home in the 10th inning, putting the Guards up 3-2.  J-RAM sized up Aroldis Chapman, timed up his delivery, and stole home by sliding around the Salvador Perez tag, touching home plate with his right hand.   Just amazing!

3 – Shane Bieber 

Shane Bieber had a great day going six strong while giving up only two hits while striking out eight. He did get pulled after only making 81 pitches but did give the Guards a quality start.

Game Summary

In a thrilling 10th inning showdown, José Ramirez executed a daring steal of home, giving the Cleveland Guardians a brief lead. However, the Kansas City Royals made a resilient comeback, defeating the Guardians 4-3 on Thursday. Pinch-hitter Freddy Fermin became the hero with his two-run double in the bottom half of the inning.

Despite the victory, the Royals reached the midpoint of the season with a dismal record of 23-58, marking their worst first-half performance in team history.

Cleveland’s manager, Terry Francona, was present at the game but did not wear a uniform as a precautionary measure against health concerns. DeMarlo Hale, the bench coach, assumed managerial duties for the Guardians.

The 10th inning began with Jose Ramirez on second base as the automatic runner. He advanced to third on Josh Naylor’s groundout. Josh Bell struck out, and with an 0-2 count on Andrés Giménez, left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman (4-2) started his delivery from the stretch. Seizing the opportunity, Ramirez took five small steps toward home plate and then sprinted toward it.

Ramirez executed a headfirst slide, positioning his body on the infield side of the baseline, as he emphatically slapped his right hand on the plate. Catcher Salvador Perez managed to glove the high sinker and made an attempt to tag Ramirez, but the umpire initially called Ramirez out. However, after a video review, the call was reversed, granting Cleveland its first stolen home since Leonys Martin’s steal on June 15, 2019.

In the bottom half of the inning, Emmanuel Clase (1-5) allowed a leadoff single to Nicky Lopez, advancing the automatic runner Kyle Isbel to third base. Drew Waters struck out, setting up the pitcher’s spot in the batting order. Bobby Witt Jr. replaced Maikel Garcia at shortstop in the ninth inning, leading to Fermin’s opportunity. Fermin hit a line drive into the left-field corner, comfortably scoring Isbel and allowing Lopez to cross home plate standing up.

Clase, who has struggled with saves this season, blew his sixth save opportunity out of 30 chances.

Cleveland initially took a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning, courtesy of Ramirez’s sacrifice fly and Bell’s two-out RBI single. However, the Royals managed to level the score in the eighth inning with Edward Olivares’ sacrifice fly and Nick Pratto’s two-out, run-scoring single against Trevor Stephan.

Shane Bieber, allowed only two hits in six shutout innings, striking out eight batters. He faced minimal trouble, overcoming leadoff doubles in the second and third innings. Notably, one of Bieber’s strikeouts resulted from Waters’ violation of the pitch-clock rule, concluding the fifth inning.

Zack Greinke, the Royals’ starting pitcher, surrendered two runs and 11 hits over six innings. Despite a solid performance, he remains winless in his last ten starts since defeating Baltimore on May 3.

Among the Guardians’ offensive efforts, Naylor stood out with two hits out of their 13 total hits. In his last 26 games, Naylor boasts an impressive batting average of .398 (43 for 108).

Up Next

Friday 6/30 2:20 PM EST – Game 1 of 3 at Cubs

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