Triston McKenzie nearly no-hit the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.
It’s been a long year for Triston McKenzie, who has battled his ups and downs all year. A young pitcher, having just turned 24 years of age, McKenzie has dealt with inconsistency all year. A staggering blow, to say the least, made worse by his impeccable debut season in 2020, where McKenzie was one of the better starters the Indians had.
In 2020, McKenzie went 2-1, with a 3.24 ERA, in 33.1 inning’s pitched, where he had 42 strikeouts and just six home runs given up. In 2021, he’s 1-5 in 76.1 inning’s pitched, while amassing a whopping 5.66 ERA. His K’s per nine have dropped off, and he’s given up 16 home runs, a slightly higher rate compared to his 2020 rate.
Yet, in his last seven outings, only twice has he given up more than three runs in a game. The team is 4-3 in his last seven starts, and in Detroit on Sunday, he had the best game of his season.
Triston McKenzie handled the Tigers
Yes, it’s the Tigers. Yes, they’re terrible. No, it does not take away from McKenzie’s day. Good teams get drubbed by bad pitching and bad teams take out good pitching. It’s whacky and wild, but baseball is unpredictable. It can’t be measured and expected like other sports, because the game of baseball is so much more erratic and left to chance. What you look for in baseball is consistency, which is why McKenzie’s outing against the Tigers isn’t something to shake your stick at.
More from Cleveland Guardians
- Cleveland Guardians calling Gavin Williams up more than a year after minor league debut
- The Cleveland Guardians were right to move on from Mike Zunino
- The Cleveland Guardians screwed up trading Nolan Jones for Juan Brito
- Has the hype gotten too loud around Bo Naylor’s eventual main roster run
- The Cleveland Guardians struggles won’t be fixed with a change at catcher
McKenzie went eight innings in the Tribe’s 11-0 win while throwing a new career-high 11 strikeouts. Not only did he hold the Tigers to just one hit, which came with two outs in the eighth inning, but McKenzie didn’t walk a single batter. Walking batters has been one of McKenzie’s biggest issues in 2021, and to be able to nearly no-hit the Tigers and not walk a single person is a commendable effort by a young pitcher.
Because of his last three outings, McKenzie’s ERA has fallen from 6.11 on the year to 5.12 just three starts later.
If you’re new to baseball, essentially a 5.00+ is the worst you can be and still get reps on a major league team. Anything in the 4.00 range is acceptable, 3.00 is pretty good and nearing All-Star levels of production. A 2.00 will get you in the Cy Young conversation and anything from 1.99 and under is next-level impressive.
While everyone hopes McKenzie can get down to the 2.00-3.00, him just getting to an ERA under 5.00 is a start. He’s had such a rough year and any sort of consistency with his location and control is worth celebrating.