If you love pitching, there was an exciting matchup on Saturday night in Seattle between two MLBbros who are the future of baseball in a position that is not dominated by “The Culture.”
The Cleveland Indians featured their 23-year-old right-hander Triston “T Eazy” McKenzie and the Seattle Mariners, who won the game 7-3, countered with another melanated mound marauder in southpaw Justus “Topsheff” Sheffield.
Both pitchers started in the Indians organization and are important parts of their respective rotations this season and have shown signs of brilliance and also laid some stinkers, which is a natural progression for young arms. Sheffield is just 25.
"See you in the big leagues!"
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) May 16, 2021
Sheffield got the best of McKenzie in this matchup as Triston surrendered five runs in four innings and left trailing 5-0. He did strike out six batters which suggests that he had good stuff but was just missing on certain pitches.
Justus Sheffield hailing from Tullahoma, TN has baseball DNA in the blood. He is the brother of Jordan Sheffield, a right-handed pitcher with the Colorado Rockies, and is also the cousin to former MLB player Tony Sheffield.
He was in command through six innings against the Cleveland Indians lineup, allowing just two runs on five hits and striking out two.
T-Eazy Is On The Come Up
Triston is the fifth starter on what is arguably one of the best pitching rotations in baseball. The Brooklyn, NY native was drafted by the Indians in 2015. He was deemed one of the best pitching prospects by MLB Pipeline in 2019 but was unable to pitch that season due to injury.
McKenzie stands at 6’5″ 170 pounds and generated a lot of buzz in his major league debut in 2020 against the Detroit Tigers, striking out 10 batters in his first six innings.
He entered Cleveland’s record books with the second-most strikeouts in his first major league start. He finished the shortened and unprecedented 2020 MLB season with a record of 2-1 with a 3.24 ERA over 33.1 innings pitched.
This season, T Eazy is off to a slow start, with an ERA close to five. The electric stuff is there, he’s just got to learn how to put it all together. How to pitch.
He made one bad pitch to Dylan Moore in the fourth inning on Saturday, which resulted in a three-run homer.
dylan moore woke up and chose ✨𝒹𝒾𝓃𝑔𝑒𝓇✨ pic.twitter.com/hjqengQSDj
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) May 16, 2021
He met a similar fate against the Chicago White Sox on May 1st, 2021. McKenzie struck out six batters and gave up only one hit, the one hit was a Grand Slam to Tim Anderson. McKenzie was pulled after two innings after he threw 57 pitches and walked four.
Justus Sheffield Puts The Clamps On Cleveland
Sheffield was the 31st pick in the first round, of the Cleveland Indians in 2015, one year before Triston McKenzie was drafted by the same organization. Justus spent time in the Yankees organization for a season but has found a home with the Seattle Mariners.
The 25-year-old stands at 5’10”, and weighs 195 lbs. He is the third man in a six-man pitching rotation that features another black hurler, Justin Dunn.
Justus had a successful rookie campaign in 2020 finishing 4-3, with a 3.58 ERA over 55.1 innings pitched. Seattle is excited about their pitcher who is finding his stride after Covid ravaged the 2020 season and hampered the development of many major leaguers.
Justus came into the season with some personal goals for the 2021 season. The goals for Topsheff were perfecting his changeup and to last six innings of every start, a goal that he reached six times out of 10 outings in 2020.
He reached that goal on Saturday night.
Baseball is known for its stats and two black starting pitchers facing each other is a rare one indeed. This isn’t the last time these two bruthas will clash. Tristan and Justus will once again have the opportunity to make the ancestors proud by putting on a show and allowing the world to see what these Black arms can do.
I can assure you that little Black boys will watch tonight’s game and see “Black Excellence” on display and know that one day, they can be a pitcher in Major League Baseball too.