Guardians need more from Triston McKenzie than what was seen Monday night

Cleveland Guardians v Seattle Mariners
Cleveland Guardians v Seattle Mariners / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

A much better performance was expected from Triston McKenzie in his first start of the season for the Cleveland Guardians. Taking on the Seattle Mariners on the road, McKenzie was not particularly effective, and his lack of command ultimately played a factor in Cleveland's 5-4 loss.

McKenzie lasted just 3.1 innings in the contest, exiting the game trailing 4-2 with the bases loaded and one out following an error by Josh Naylor. One more run would score in the inning, and that would end up being the difference in the game.

It was not a particularly effective night for McKenzie in Seattle. It is not just about giving up four runs (five total) on four hits and one walk that is the issue. Needing 78 pitches and leaving in the 4th inning is far from ideal. Only 47 of McKenzie's pitches on Monday were strikes, which is a huge problem. It would be one thing if McKenzie was filling up the strike zone and giving up hits, but not being able to throw strikes consistently is an issue worth noting.

McKenzie has allowed a total of 13 runs in 19.1 innings across five starts dating back to last season. What is truly alarming is the 31 base runners allowed, but specifically McKenzie's 15 free passes via base on balls. A starting pitcher simply cannot allow seven walks per nine innings, and that is what McKenzie has done during that span.

Now, is it sound the alarms everything is falling apart time? Far from it. McKenzie missed pretty much all of 2023, and It is going to take a little bit of time for McKenzie to get back to pitching at the high level he is capable of. But it must be noted that expectations were much higher for McKenzie on Monday, and he failed to meet them.