Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Gavin Williams found himself making team history in Monday night’s 3-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Williams became the first rookie in Cleveland baseball history to strike out 12 batters while allowing no more than one hit in a start. Unfortunately for Williams, the bullpen was not able to do their job as they took over in the 8th inning. The combination of Enyel De Los Santos and Nick Sandlin surrendered three runs in the final two innings.
When evaluating starts from all of Cleveland's starters in team history with one or fewer walks issued into the equation, there are only three other pitchers to accomplish this feat. Gavin Williams joins Corey Kluber (2015), Bartolo Colon (2000), and Dennis Eckersley (1977). When looking at the group of names that Williams finds himself in the company of it is quite impressive.
An important aspect of this outing from Gavin Williams is that this is the deepest into a game he has pitched since his second career start, a game in which he lasted 7 innings and allowed just one hit and one walk. The difference this time around though was that he was able to double his strikeout total from six to 12. Coincidentally, Williams also registered a hit batter in both starts, a little bit of interesting trivia to look back on down the road.
There is a reason why Gavin Williams was rated as the Guardians’ number-one prospect and we are seeing it now. Additionally, it is outings like this which make trading Aaron Civale a bit more tolerable in the grand scheme of things. While the Guardians' chances of being in the mix for postseason play continue to decrease as the season progresses, they do have something to fall back on for the future and that appears to be a rotation anchor in Gavin Williams.