Peyton Battenfield to start in place of Zach Plesac Friday
It appears that the Cleveland Guardians may have made a move in regards to their starting rotation. Zach Plesac was originally slotted to start Friday's game against Minnesota, but instead it is Peyton Battenfield who will start against the Twins at home.
While nothing in regards to a roster move that would indicate something more of being bumped from the rotation has been made at this time, this could be the beginning of the end for Plesac in Cleveland. Plesac has been mostly ineffective this season and has become a frustrating watch. The 28-year old righty has allowed 18 runs (20 total) in 21.1 innings across five starts this season. Plesac's 5.9 strikeouts per nine is a career-low while his 7.59 ERA and 1.969 WHIP are simply unacceptable. The further away that the 2019 and 2020 seasons become, the more those seasons appear to be outliers. The 9.3 strikeouts per nine in 2020 are clearly the exception to the rule as his career-high in a full season sits at just 6.8.
Battenfield has not been outstanding by any means, but has been more serviceable and usable than Plesac. Nine earned runs in 17.1 innings with 14 striketouts and 11 walks has Battenfield's ERA and WHIP sitting at 4.67 and 1.558 respectively. After zero free passes in his debut, Battenfield has 11 walks in his 12.2 innings, not exactly an ideal rate. The 6'4" righty will have to harness in his command in order to be more effective, go deeper into games, and eventually put the team in position to win, something that is yet to happen in a Battenfield start.
Even if Battenfield is not a long-term option for their rotation, beginning the phasing of Plesac is long overdue. It has been evident for some time that Plesac is not long for the Guardians rotation and needs to be replaced. Perhaps Plesac can catch on somewhere else and revive his career, but the keyphrase here is somewhere else and not Cleveland. For now it appears to be Battenfield in and Plesac out, everyone will have to wait to see if this yields the results that everyone is looking for.