For the Cleveland Guardians to make a run at the AL Central title this season, they will need a healthy Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie to lead their starting rotation. McKenzie missed most of the 2023 season with a right teres major strain in his shoulder and a right elbow strain.
The 26-year-old right-handed pitcher made four starts last season, including two in September. McKenzie had a 0-3 record, a 5.06 ERA, and produced 16 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched. The good news for Guardians fans is that the 6-foot-5 pitcher should be ready to go this season.
Guardians News: Triston McKenzie ‘Feels Good’ Heading Into Spring Training
McKenzie spoke with reporters at the Guardians FanFest on Saturday and said he’s feeling great heading into the 2024 season, per Leah Doherty of WOWO. The 26-year-old starter also said his build-up to the season has been more gradual despite throwing more this offseason than he normally would.
If the Guardians can have the 2022 McKenzie on the mound this season, their starting rotation will be in excellent shape.
The former first-round pick had an 11-11 record in 31 starts but possessed a career-best 2.96 ERA despite giving up 25 home runs. McKenzie also produced 190 strikeouts in 191.1 innings and had an FIP of 3.59.
Last year, the Guardians’ best two starting pitchers were rookie Tanner Bibee, Logan Allen, and Bieber. Bibee had the most wins (10) and the second-best ERA (2.98) in their starting rotation.
Aaron Civale had the lowest ERA in the Guardians’ rotation (2.34) before he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays. With McKenzie healthy, Cleveland can roll out a starting rotation that features him, Bieber, and Bibee. If the Guardians’ offense shows us, they’ll have a good shot to win the AL Central division (+380 on FanDuel Sportsbook).
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