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Triston McKenzie, Guardians aim to subdue high-octane Yankees

Sportsnaut
Jun 27, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Triston McKenzie (24) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Guardians right-hander Triston McKenzie has allowed 16 home runs in 13 starts this season.

McKenzie (4-6, 4.03 ERA) will receive the start against the visiting New York Yankees in the finale of a three-game series on Sunday afternoon. And it won’t be an easy task.

New York belted six home runs in the doubleheader sweep on Saturday. The Yankees went deep four times in a 13-4 victory in the opener before launching two homers in a 6-1 win in the nightcap.

Matt Carpenter hit two home runs in the first game and D.J. LeMahieu and Jose Trevino each added one. In Game 2, Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton belted back-to-back homers in the fourth inning.

Guardians manager Terry Francona doesn’t appear concerned about McKenzie’s penchant to surrender the long ball.

“I don’t think he has issues,” Francona said recently of McKenzie, who is 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA in one career start against New York. “On some of the days he’s given up runs, he’s given up two home runs in seven innings, we’ll take that.

“I think it’s probably a little different every time out. I think in the past he’s given up some solos, which isn’t the worst thing in the world when you’re not giving up other runs.”

Left-hander Jordan Montgomery (3-1, 3.27) will attempt to help the Yankees secure a season sweep of the Guardians. He is 0-1 with a 5.27 ERA in three career starts against Cleveland, as well as 0-0 with a 3.72 ERA in two career starts at Progressive Field.

New York has scored the most runs in majors (403) and given up the fewest (239). There’s a reason the Yankees have the best record in baseball.

They hit for power. They clog the bases with runners. Their starting pitching is top notch, as is their bullpen.

The Guardians made a number of player moves on Saturday, including sending rookie Oscar Gonzalez to the 10-day injured list with right abdominal tightness.

Gonzalez underwent an MRI on Friday, which revealed mild swelling in his rib area. Francona said the outfielder will be shut down for about a week, but he isn’t expecting it to be a long-term problem.

Rookie infielder Gabriel Arias was recalled from Triple-A Columbus to take Gonzalez’s roster spot. Francona said Cleveland might call up another player, perhaps an outfielder, in the near future.

The Yankees recalled outfielder Miguel Andujar as the 27th man for Saturday’s doubleheader before sending him back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. There has been talk that Andujar has asked to be traded.

“I enjoy playing baseball,” Andujar said. “I’ve been playing this game for a long time. I want to play at this level. The exact details of the conversation, I’m going to keep those private.”

Andujar batted .352 with three homers and 17 RBIs in his first 19 games in Triple-A. He started both games of the doubleheader and was 1-for-8, with three runs and an RBI.

“I definitely think this year’s version of Miggy is more in line with 2018 and hopefully a more mature refined hitter, fielder … everything,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

In the first game of the doubleheader, Aroldis Chapman faced three batters and walked them all. He had not appeared in a major-league game since May 24 and was activated from the injured list on Friday.

Boone said Chapman won’t move into the closer’s role. That’s being manned by Clay Holmes, who threw two pitches in Game 2 and earned his 15th save.

–Field Level Media