Triston McKenzie has taken a huge leap forward in his development this season, and he took one of his biggest leaps yet Friday night, striking out a career-high 14 batters in Cleveland’s 5-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on a couple RBI singles, but McKenzie settled in and dominated from there. Not only did McKenzie strike out 14 Chicago hitters, but he didn’t walk anybody, which puts him among some of the best pitchers in franchise history:
This is also McKenzie’s third-career start with 11+ strikeouts and no walks, tying him with Sam McDowell and puts him behind only Shane Bieber (four) and Corey Kluber (six) for the most in club history.
And if you’re not sick of hearing about how great McKenzie was, how about this: He had 25 swings and misses Friday night, which tied him for ninth-most by a Cleveland pitcher since 2008:
José Ramírez cut Chicago’s lead to one in the sixth with a solo homer – his 23rd of the season – and the Guardians had another one of their patented late-inning rallies, with a four-run seventh to put the game away.
McKenzie is enjoying a heck of a stretch, and has been a big reason why the Guardians are currently sitting in first place in the AL Central. Since July 3, he has a 1.91 ERA (2.58 FIP) in nine starts, with 65 strikeouts and a .180 opponent batting average in that span. At 25 years old, McKenzie is already emerging as an ace, and he might only be scratching the surface of his potential.