The bat of Josh Naylor has come alive and not a moment too soon. Naylor had been scuffling at the plate for some time and was not exactly performing up to the standard that is expected of him. Apparently all Naylor needed was a mid-May visit from the Los Angeles Angels.
Naylor would go on to hit three go ahead 8th inning home runs against Los Angeles in their three game series, making him the first player in the Expansion Era to accomplish this feat. The eight go-ahead home runs from Naylor in the 8th inning or later is the most in all of baseball since the beginning of the 2021 season. Guardians slugger would end up going 5-11 with seven runs driven in and two walks against the Angels as he came up clutch time after time after time. It is safe to say that the Angels pitching staff is going to be happy with not having to face Naylor in the 8th inning any time soon.
One late game home run? It happens.
Two in a series? Now that's impressive.
Now, being able to come up in the clutch on three straight days? That is beyond incredible.
Naylor put the team on his back and delivered when the team needed it most. The clutch at-bats from Naylor put the team in position to win three times in a row. There is not much that could have been asked from Naylor during the final games of this homestand. While the first outing did not go Cleveland's way, the Guardians were able to hold on Saturday and Sunday to get two much needed wins.
Prior to this stretch it had been a rough go of things for Naylor. Through 33 games Naylor was slashing just .191/.224/.304 with three home runs and 19 RBI. What Naylor was able to do against the Angels is the type of series that can jumpstart a season. Being able to double his longball output while adding over one third to his RBI total in the span of three games is a good start to getting things going consistently at the plate.
There is still a lot of the season left and many bats, like Naylor, have not got going yet. While Naylor is just one player that had an extended clutch streak, it could instill confidence in others leading to their own streak of good outcomes at the plate. Sometimes all it takes is one player to get everyone else going and this weekend from Naylor could be exactly what the doctor ordered to cure what is ailing this team at the plate.