The Cleveland Guardians got a glimpse of their future Wednesday as rookie Gavin Williams made his MLB debut. Williams pitched well for the most part, although he did experience a bit of trouble the second time through the order.
All four hits and runs given up by Williams came in the top of the 3rd inning. Those came via four straight hits, including a three-run homer to Ryan Noda which gave the Athletics a 4-0 lead. Williams could have crumbled like so many other rookie pitchers when facing adversity, but he managed to maintain his composure and proceed to get quick innings of seven and five pitches respectively. This was an excellent display of his mental makeup and it helped bail out the bullpen for tomorrow's day game.
Being able to put a bad inning like that behind him is a trait that few pitchers possess. Add in that it was a bad inning in his debut and the fact he moved past it is much more impressive. It appears that the Guardians pitching factory may have produced yet another quality arm to add to their starting rotation in Willams.
Offensively the Guardians answered the Athletics really immediately. Cleveland cut Oakland's lead in half in the bottom of the 3rd and erased it completley in the 5th. The A's were able to retake a two-run lead in the 7th, but it would not last. The Guardiac Kids sprung back into action yet again as Josh Naylor hit a solo homer in the 7th and Steven Kwan delivered with a one-out double in the 8th that saw two runs scoring (one due to a Ramon Laureano error). This set things up for Emmanuel Clase to shut the door in the 9th. While it was not the three-up and three-down outing that is preferred, Clase still was able to finish the save and secure the win, that is what matters.
With the win, Cleveland remains just one game back of the American League Central division leading Twins. The Guardians have a chance to complete the sweep of Oakland Thursday afternoon which could result in that one game deficit disappearing if the Red Sox can do their part against the Twins.