ARLINGTON, Texas – Bryan Shaw is nothing new to stretching. Even ones that come out of nowhere.
This year, making it the exception rather than the rule on a Guardians team where most players are going through it for the first time.
Shaw joined Cleveland in December 2012 in a three-team trade with Arizona and Cincinnati. He helped Cleveland go from 94 losses in 2012 to 92 wins and a wildcard finish in 2013 in manager Terry Francona’s first year on the job.
That covers the unexpected track run.
The stretch runs of 2016 and 2017 featured some of the best Cleveland teams in recent memory, and Shaw worked hard in the bullpen. The 2016 team won the AL pennant before losing to the Cubs in seven games in the World Series. The 2017 team won 102 games but was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Shaw said there’s not a huge difference between what the Guardians are doing this year compared to what he’s experienced in the past.
“Not really,” said Shaw, who at 33 is the oldest player on the roster. “This team is really good. We’ve been doing this all year. I’ve been part of some teams that won early and late. I think it’s similar to everyone.”
The results bear that out. The Guardians went into Friday’s game against Texas with a seven-game lead in AL Central and a magic number of five to edge the second-placed White Sox. But the 2022 Guardians are breaking out of shape in style.
“Obviously, this team is doing things differently,” Shaw said. “The way we play, the way we do things, but it seems similar to those teams in the past, which is always special.”
From the outside, Cleveland’s dominance of the Central came as a surprise. But that wasn’t the case in the dressing room.
“You read everything in the media that says the White Sox should win,” Shaw said. “We know our level of talent. We know the players we have. We know who we are as an organization, who we are as a group, as a team.
“We know our strengths and weaknesses. We know we’re not going to go out there and hit four or five home runs a game and win the ball game that way. We know we have to go out there and fight and do everything right. We accepted that and we will do that.”
Supply man Ernie Clement, who was scheduled to be deployed on Wednesday, was claimed by Oakland on Friday for waivers.
“I’m happy for Ernie,” said manager Terry Francona. “He was so professional (when we spoke to him). That’s why I’m very happy for him.”
The new Ernie
Gabriel Arias, who was promoted when Clement was appointed DFA, will assume his role as service provider. He is a natural middle infielder but started playing first base at Class AAA Columbus.
“Andy Tracy (Columbus manager) told us he got to first base very quickly,” said infield coach Mike Sarbaugh. “He has really good moves but sometimes the footwork is hard to understand. But he gets used to it quickly.”
Arias is expected to spend most of his time in late-inning situations initially.
Make it a triple
Steven Kwan and Amed Rosario are tied for the MLB lead with seven threes each. It’s the first time Cleveland has had two players with at least seven triples since 2001, when Roberto Alomar had 12 and Omar Vizquel had eight.
Kwan’s seven triples are the most by a Cleveland rookie since Kenny Lofton had eight in 1992. Lofton was the last Cleveland player to lead the big leagues in triples since he had 13 in 1995.
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