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.
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.
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.
MLbbro.com told you early in the season to keep an eye on the New York Mets rotation and the squad’s melanated mound marauders; Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman. The team from Queens is one of just two MLB rotations with two Black starting pitchers.
(Seattle Mariners pitchers Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn comprise the other Black starter tandem)
On Tuesday, both pitchers carried their whole weight in leading the Mets to a sweep of NL East rival Philadelphia.
It was exactly the kind of performance that Mets brass hoped for when they decided to bring these two potential Black aces into the fold to round out what could eventually be the best pitching staff in baseball.
Both pitchers have basically been lights out. Stroman has a 0.37 ERA and in 12.1 innings pitched he’s given up just 1 run on a homer and eight hits.
He wants all the smoke. At 5-foot-7 he’s a walking billboard for his branded HDMH slogan: “Heart Don’t Measure Height.” Let’s not forget he’s doing all this while fighting social justice causes and responding to idiots all day long on Twitter,
That heart was on full display. After getting his start cut short during a nine-pitch rainout on Sunday, instead of waiting his normal five days to start again, Stroman went Rough Ryder DMX on em’ and came back on one day’s rest to hurl 6 innings of no-run, four-hit ball, in a performance fit for framing.
He was efficient, throwing 86 pitches to lead the Mets to a 4-0 shutout win over the Phillies.
Stroman’s outing followed a spicy effort by Walker, who set the day off like Queen Latifah with the semi-auto, hurling 4.1 innings of 1-run, 3-hit ball with a whopping 8 strikeout. Yeah, he was throwing ched,
This short, but masterful outing follows Walker’s first Citifield start in which he surrendered just two runs in 6 innings. Both of Walker’s efforts ended in a no-decision, but he pitched more than well enough to win.
Walker’s a live arm that the Mets signed to shore up the rotation. At just 28 years of age and having pitched for some pretty average to bad teams in his career, there was much optimism that Walker could really turn up this season on a Mets team that has the pieces to make a lot of noise in the playoffs.
These Black Knights are what we would call X-factors for the Mets this season. How far the Mets advance will strongly depend on the performance of their bros in arms. Both are playing on the best team of their career and if they pitched to their abilities, both could easily have career campaigns. It really comes down to staying healthy.
Walker’s durability is always in question. Entering the season the 6-foot-4 heat hurler had started just 15 MLB games since 2018.
There were skeptics who suggested that Stroman was more bark than bite based on the fact that he hasn’t had a winning record since 2017 and his ERA has fluctuated dramatically. Stroman knew better and entered the season healthy, confident and anxiously waiting for a team to explode on.
The Mets already have a formidable staff with the best pitcher in the game (Jacob DeGrom) leading the way, To have two other pitchers capable of dominating at times comes in handy for the Mets, who currently have two key starters missing. Noah Syndergaard is on the shelf and No. 2 starter Carlos Carrasco is on the IL with a bad hammy.
Give it up for these brothers who continue to dismiss the myth that Black men don’t pitch…anymore.
He didn’t get the decision, but his energy and quality start paced the Mets to a controversial walk-off win in their home opener.
The lights are always brighter in New York, especially when fans haven’t seen baseball live since 2019 when Walker’s teammate and fellow MLB Bro Dominic Smith hit a walk-off homer in the team’s season finale.
The 28-year-old native of Shreveport, Louisiana wasted no time as he attacked the zone from the first pitch. He threw three fastballs at 96, 96, and 97 to strike out the leadoff batter on consecutive pitches. He then fielded a comebacker and picked off Starling Marte after walking him.
You knew from the gitty that he didn’t lace up cleats this morning to mess around.
Walker went 4 ⅓ innings without allowing a hit in his first game in a Mets uniform. It was the second-longest a Mets pitcher has gone without allowing a hit in their team debut. He finished his day going six innings, striking out four and allowing four hits.
He had a 1-0 lead for a majority of the game but ended up giving up two runs in the 6th, putting him in line for the loss. His teammate Jeff McNeil hit a 9th inning home run to get Walker off the hook. The Mets ended up winning the game with a walk-off, hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded.
The former 43rd pick of the 2010 draft has bounced around a few times in his young career, but the team remains excited by his potential. He began in Seattle and was sent to the Diamondbacks in 2016. After having Tommy John surgery, he ended up back with Seattle for a second time before being traded to the Blue Jays last season.
Walker became a key part of a rotation that bolstered a late Blue Jays playoff push in the American League last season. He had a 1.37 ERA in six games with Toronto striking out 25 in over 26 innings pitched, easily the best stretch of his career.
Walker is a part of only two pitching rotations with multiple black starters in the Major Leagues, the other being his former team the Seattle Mariners (Justus Sheffield & Justin Dunn).
Walker and No. 2 starter Marcus Stroman have been lights out in consecutive wins for the Mets. They have combined to go 12 innings allowing 3 runs and striking out 7.
It looks like Walker is ready to piggyback off his strong 2020 campaign and be a golden-armed force in the Mets owner’s promise to bring a World Series Championship back to the city.
Justus Sheffield is the first MLB Bro starting pitcher to take the mound this season. Sheffield finally started putting his repertoire together and was stellar in the abbreviated 2020 season.
Sheffield looks to make this year a special one.
We have seen MLB bros have an impact with the bats and on the basepaths already this season, but Monday night we will get to see one of the best young arm talents in all of baseball; 24-year-old lefty Justus Sheffield.
Sheffield is a part of only two rotations in baseball to feature multiple black starters. He and Justin Dunn hold it down for the Seattle Mariners and the Mets who feature the charismatic Marcus Stroman and heat-toting Taijuan Walker.
In 2020, Sheffield’s official rookie season, he found his groove. He finished with a record of 4-3 and a 3.58 era on a young, talented Mariners team that featured a rookie of the year winner in centerfield and two gold glove defenders.
From August 9th- September 26th of 2020, Sheffield was one of the best pitchers in baseball. He posted a 4-1 record with a 2.42 era and 41 strikeouts with just 14 walks during that span.
He led all MLB rookies with 6 quality starts, was 3rd in innings pitched and 6th in strikeouts. Only fellow Mariner Kyle Lewis had a higher Wins Above Replacement rating for rookies in all of baseball.
Sheffield was one of the most talented pitchers coming out of high school in the 2014 class. He posted an 11-0 record with a 0.34 era and threw two no-hitters his senior season in high school on the way to being named Gatorade National Player of the Year.
A native of Tullahoma, Tennessee, Sheffield committed to powerhouse Vanderbilt University but ultimately chose to go straight to the big leagues after being drafted in the first round by the Cleveland Indians.
In 2016 he was traded to the New York Yankees in a deal that sent reliever Andrew Miller to the Indians. He made his major league debut on September 19th, 2018 in relief for the Yankees.
Just a short time later, in November of 2019, Sheffield was dealt again, this time to Seattle in a deal that brought the Yankees James Paxton.
Despite being traded twice before his 24th birthday, Sheffield has seemed to find a home in Seattle, where he earned a spot in the rotation. He debuted for Seattle in 2019 and struck out 37 batters in 36 innings.
Sheffield features a nasty sinker/slider combination, relying on forcing batters to make weak contact and his fielders to make plays — which when you have a defense like the Mariners do — is not a bad idea.
Pitching excellence runs in the Sheffield family as his brother Jordan, a former Vandy arm, made his season debut out of the pen a few days ago.
If you're wondering where Justus Sheffield is, he's likey watching his brother Jordan make his MLB debut against the Dodgers. The other Sheffield brother went 1-2-3 in his inning with two groundouts and a popout, retiring both Corey Seager and Mookie Betts. Congrats @Topsheff42pic.twitter.com/wHRUCmPFAN