It was an interesting week for us Guardians fans. The offense finally cooled off after being red hot and the Home Opener certainly did not goes as planned. However, there are a few positives and takeaways from this past week to build off of.
If there is one thing we learned about this Guardians team is that there is an emphasis to be patient at the plate. The Guardians as a team are averaging 3.93 total pitches seen during an at-bat this season. This ranks just above the league average of 3.86. This includes Ernie Clement, Andres Gimenez, Steven Kwan, and Owen Miller who all average seeing over four pitches per plate appearance.
New hitting coach Chris Valaika noted the importance of this patience saying that “we’re gonna have to be different, we’re gonna have to move the ball around the field, put the ball in play, give tough at-bats every time we’re up there …” So far these tough and long at-bats have shown that they can be effective and lead to some wins.
Being patient at the plate is important because it allows Guardians batters to knock out opposing pitchers and get deep into their bullpen early. The Guardians did a great job of this in the two-game set against the Reds, but not so much in the series against the Giants.
Aggressive Base Running
Past Cleveland teams have always enjoyed the success that comes with aggressive base running and stealing. This week we learned that this new Guardians team is no exception to that.
Myles Straw has the most stolen bases on the team with four, and behind him is Amed Rosario who only has one. Steven Kwan and Jose Ramirez both have one attempt on the season but got caught stealing by Tyler Stephensen on back-to-back plays in the first inning of Tuesday’s game. Testing the Reds’ catcher like this shows how aggressive this team is willing to be on the basepath in order to get their runners in scoring position.
As a team, they also have a 42 percent XBT% which shows aggressive they can be on the base path when they have the chance. Rosario leads this category taking the extra base 83 percent of the time, followed by Jose Ramirez and Steven Kwan who take the extra base 50 percent of the time.
This aggressive base running may sometimes seem frustrating if runners continue to get thrown out as we saw in the first inning of the Reds game. But as fans, we also have to remember to carry that same energy when this same aggressiveness leads to more runs.
The Offense Finally Cooled Off
The Guardians' offense has been a roller coaster to start the season. It started off slow in Kansas City, then picked up towards the end of the series. It was scorching hot against the Reds scoring 17 runs in only two games. But then the Guardians came home and only scored four runs against the Giants. It can be frustrating for us fans because we know it's there. We’ve seen it!
The first three games at Progressive Field have been rough. As a team, they hit for an average of .185 with 23 strikeouts and an OPS of .513 against the Giants. This is certainly not something the team is looking to carry into their series against the White Sox this week.
The offense cooled off just as fast as it heated up, which hopefully means it can get going again just as quickly.
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