The Cleveland Guardians will have an opportunity to make a postseason appearance this season winning the American League Central Division or securing a Wild Card spot. One player Cleveland will count on down the home stretch is starting pitcher Triston McKenzie.
McKenzie is coming off an exceptional July making five starts and finishing with a 3-1 record and a 1.34 ERA. On the season, he has a 7-7 record with a 3.24 ERA and 106 strikeouts. While his last start against the Boston Red Sox didn’t go so well, he still put together a near historic July for Cleveland.
Triston McKenzie, 11th and 12th Ks. 🔨🔨 pic.twitter.com/HtMFJQGiVB
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 15, 2022
McKenzie’s best performance came on July 14th against the Detroit Tigers. The 24 year-old was dealing that game, going eight innings, pitching a shutout and striking out a career-high 12 batters. The right-hander had complete control and command of his fastball against Detroit and he knew early on that his fastball would be unhittable.
“It felt really, really good today,” he said in an article on mlb.com. “My mechanics felt really, really good, but usually in the first inning once I see some swings, I’m able to get a gauge on how my stuff is going to work on a day.”
His battery mate Austin Hedges, was impressed with his performance and had the best view in the stadium.
“He had the slider going back door to lefties, in to them, away to righties,” Hedges said. “We gave guys different looks every at-bat. Nobody was able to really learn what he was doing and they were all clutching.”
You really don’t see starting pitchers going eight innings like that. For McKenzie to do something like that shows how much of a competitor he is and how much he wants to win. And he got praise from his opponent too.
“He was tough to me,” Tigers center fielder Riley Greene said. “He was going fastball up, trying to get my eye level, and then going curveball down. With him, I feel like his curveball comes out of the same spot as his fastball does, so it’s kind of tricky. He throws it just like his fastball.”
McKenzie has had multiple starts this season where he has dominated on the mound.
His teammate, Josh Naylor has enjoyed watching him go out there and deal night in and night out.
“That’s what I expect of him every time,” Naylor said after McKenzie’s performance against the Tigers. “He’s a phenomenal pitcher. … He’s having fun out there, but the last three outings have just been incredible. That Yankees outing really brought some great stuff out of him. I’m excited for the future for him.”
He’s also been dependable, pitching in five innings or more in 15 of the 19 starts he’s made this season. That’s why each start he makes in August will be crucial, and you better believe he’s going to go out there and leave it all on the field.
McKenzie’s next scheduled start will be on Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks when he’ll have the opportunity to start August off on a strong note.