Triston McKenzie didn’t make the All-Star squad but he’s had some of the most dominant starts by a pitcher this season. On Thursday, Dr. Sticks allowed no runs, five hits and recorded a career-high 12 strikeouts on a career-high 109 pitches in a 4-0 win over the Tigers.

#HIGHFIVE | Top 5 Black & brown MLB Players (Week 13)

#HIGHFIVE | Top 5 Black & brown MLB Players (Week 13)

Josiah Gray struck out a career high 11 hitters and snapped the Nationals six-game losing streak to earn the top spot on Week 13 of our #HighFive list.

1. Josiah Gray

Josiah Gray’s start Wednesday night in Philadelphia was one of his best to date as he racked up a career high 11 strikeouts in six innings and only allowed four hits for two earned runs which both came off solo homers by Kyle Schwarber.

It was his third career game with 10 or more strikeouts, which is the second most in Washington Nationals history by a player age 24 or younger.

Gray struggled in his first start of the month, but that day is an outlier compared to numbers he has put up since June.

 

In four starts last month, Gray allowed only three earned runs through 24 innings with 28 strikeouts, eight walks and a 1.13 ERA.

In addition to earning the top spot on the Week 13 #HighFive list, Gray will be featured on episode 13 of mlbbro.com’s High & Outside Podcast this coming Sunday.

His next start will be Tuesday against All-Star hopeful J.P. Crawford and the Seattle Mariners.

2. Marcus Semien

Marcus Semien was awarded the inaugural mlbbro.com Player of The Year award this week for his 2021 season with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Semien won a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, was named to his first All-Star team and hit 45 home runs which broke the record for most in a single season by a second baseman.

He got off to a slow start in his first season in Texas, but once we got to June he rediscovered that form.

Semien has batted .300 over the last month with eight home runs, eight stolen bases and 17 runs batted in. Going even further back, since May 18th he leads all second baseman in hits and steals.

This weekend Semien and his Rangers welcome Byron Buxton and the Minnesota Twins to Texas.

3. Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge became the first ever New York Yankee to hit 30 home runs before the All-Star Break twice in his career, giving the best player on the best team in the Majors the three spot on our #HighFive list.

Judge’s 30th bomb came via a grand slam against the Pirates in a 16-0 massacre Wednesday. 

He along with teammate Aaron Hicks both hit grand slams that day, making it the first time in MLB history that two different players with the same first name hit a grand slam in a game.

Over his last seven games Judge has a .261 batting average with two home runs, seven RBI and five walks.

4. Josh Bell

Josh Bell continued his campaign to be named the Washington Nationals representative in Los Angeles for the All-Star Game by hitting .300 over his last seven games while trying to carry the Nationals offense on his shoulders.

Ahead of Sunday’s team announcement, Bell has put himself in the top five for average, OPS, hits, triples and slugging percentage for all Major League first baseman.

This weekend Bell and the Nationals travel to Atlanta to take on the Braves.

5. Triston McKenzie

 

“Dr. Sticks” gets the last spot on our #HighFive list after his shutting out Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees through seven innings last Sunday.

McKenzie allowed just one hit, walked one and struck out seven in the Guardians win over the team with the Majors best record. This start came on the heels of a few rough outings to end his month of June, but McKenzie has shown multiple flashes throughout his third full season.

His record now sits at 5-6 with a 3.71 ERA and 80 strikeouts.

McKenzie’s next start will come Saturday afternoon against the Kansas City Royals.

Triston McKenzie’s Cleveland Guardians Are Heating Up In The Summer

The month of June is the heart of summer and with the summer comes heat.

This is also true in Major League Baseball. Many teams across the league are scorching hot in the month of June. One such team is the Cleveland Guardians, who have gained tremendous ground in the AL Central division race. The team has been much better of late and is one of the surprising teams of the summer.

What should make this more enticing for Guardians fans is while they have gotten stellar pitching, but there is still room for improvement.

Home Boi Highlights | Triston McKenzie

While his record may not be a good reflection of this, MLBbro Triston McKenzie has been one of the best pitchers in the Guardian’s rotation. The young pitcher who struggled in his first two seasons but showed various gifts on the mound has vastly improved. Sure, he has only a 4-5 record but a deeper dive into his starts shows more consistency than his record would suggest.

Opponents hit less than .200 against McKenzie, showing he’s winning more than his fair share of matchups with opposing hitters. Even though velocity on his fastball has dropped some, he is still able to rely on a powerful curve ball and a nasty slider.

“Dr. Sticks” Is What They Call Triston McKenzie In The Cleveland Guardians Clubhouse

McKenzie has been a victim of circumstance, as is the case with starting pitchers. In his starts, the Guardians offense has been sub-par. Cleveland normally averages over 4.6 runs per game. That drops down to just above 3.7 runs per game in games started by McKenzie. In four of his five losses, he held opponents to a .190 batting average.

But the Guardians have been a terrific offensive team overall and this should not be a continuous problem so long as their young pitcher continues to be effective.

MLBbro McKenzie was fantastic in his last start, lasting six innings and only giving up one run. He also added six strikeouts en route to another quality start in a 4-2 win over the Colorado Rockies. His 5.484 H/9 leads the American League and he should only continue his dominance over opposing hitters as the year goes on.

McKenzie has to cut down on serving up dingers. He’s given up multiple home runs in four of his 11 starts. He has given up more home runs than any other starter in the Guardian rotation. If he can cut back on some of the home runs, he has allowed, he can be even more dominant against opposing teams.

The 2022 season has been a great one for McKenzie. His pitches have been effective, and hitters have made truly little contact against him. He has dominated left-handed hitters, especially keeping their OBP below .250.

As long as the Guardians continue their winning ways, MLBbro McKenzie is sure to rack up many more wins over the next few months. If he can match the rest of his astonishing stats then the city of Cleveland will have another star pitcher to go along with Shane Bieber.

Triston is healthy and focused, and ready to continue rising to the occasion in the middle of the Guardian’s hot streak.

“Dr. Sticks” Is What They Call Triston McKenzie In The Cleveland Guardians Clubhouse

“He’s really athletic,” Toronto Blue Jays skipper Terry Francona said May 5 before the Guardians hosted the Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field in the first of a four-game series.

Triston McKenzie is 6-foot-5 and listed at 165 pounds. The body-frame of McKenzie will only develop over time and improve but the Guardians brass isn’t worried. When asked about his size and if that would matter, McKenzie responded:

 “I don’t know how I stay so slender. I feel like I eat a decent amount. I think it’s just how my body works……I believe baseball is very taxing. I feel like I burn through a lot of what I eat. I’d say throwing the way I do is me learning my body and learning what makes me feel good and being consistent day in and day out.”

 

 

McKenzie’s had somemore gems since that near no-hitter in 2021. Dr. Sticks (1-2) threw 6⅓ scoreless innings in his last game against the Oakland A’s.

McKenzie, held the A’s to three hits, struck out seven and walked one as Cleveland swept a series at the Oakland Coliseum for the first time since April 10-12, 2000.

McKenzie spoke to the media after the A’s game and said, “For me to be successful, a lot of it is mixing my pitches up and keeping guys guessing. We stuck to the game plan really well today.” Short and simple for the laid-back Guardians ace. “Coming up here in 2020 when stuff was a little weird (because of COVID) and evolving through last year, coming into this year, I feel a lot more comfortable,” McKenzie said. “I feel the team aspect has grown on me. I know a lot of the guys really well now.”

McKenzie made his debut in 2020.

After a rookie season where he said he didn’t feel comfortable asking certain questions around the veterans in the clubhouse, McKenzie is happy with his teammates and their bond as it continues to get better.

Guardians catcher Luke Maile has high praise for the star MLBbro young pitcher.

“Really powerful stuff, really violent,” Cleveland catcher Maile said about McKenzie’s outing. “To call pitches for a guy like that is awfully fun because even when he’s got something else in mind, you really can’t go wrong when he executes well.”

McKenzie did not allow an Oakland runner to reach second base until Chad Pinder’s one-out single put two aboard in the seventh, which is particularly impressive.

Guardians skipper Terry Francona spoke about McKenzie, saying, “He didn’t give up much. There were times where he lost the strike zone, but he reeled it back in in a hurry, as opposed to 3-4 hitters.”

McKenzie’s next start will be against the Toronto Blue Jays who have lost three of their last five games.

The MLBbro pitching phenom has an impressive resume so far in 2022, including a 2.70 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 24 strikeouts over 23 1/3 innings of work. He will face the Blue Jays next time out. This will be a tough task as the Blue Jays have a stacked batting lineup that includes our very own MLBbro, George Springer.