Yariel Rodriguez’s return gets spoiled after big loss in Cleveland

The Toronto Blue Jays headed to Progressive Field to take on the Cleveland Guardians in the first game of another three game series. The Jays had previously played the Guardians from June 14-16, taking two out of three against the AL Central leaders.

This game marked the return of Yariel Rodriguez (0-1, 4.11), who had been on the IL with back issues, but his return didn’t go so well. Rodriguez lasted just 1 1/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on two hits, striking out one and walking three, taking his second loss of the year.

On the other side, the Guardians sent veteran right hander Carlos Carrasco (2-6, 5.80) to the mound. Carrasco threw 6 innings, allowing one run on four hits, walking none and striking out seven to earn his third victory of the year.

Another key event took place in Friday night’s game, Orelvis Martinez made his big league debut for the Blue Jays. The 22 year old is currently ranked as the #2 prospect in the Blue Jays’ farm system and is the 68th best prospect in all of the MLB. Martinez was called up to Toronto on Tuesday after Bo Bichette was placed on the IL with a calf injury. To start the 2024 season, Martinez was playing for Triple-A Buffalo, where he posted a .260 batting average, an .867 OPS, while hitting 16 homers and racking up 46 RBIs. Martinez went 1 for 3 in the Jays’ loss to the Guardians, collecting his first MLB hit off of Carrasco in the 6th inning.

Looking at the game, the offences scored their runs in just two of the nine innings played. Both squads went through a scoreless, followed by a Toronto scoreless top of the 2nd, they looked to shut Cleveland down in the bottom half, but that didn’t happen.

The Guardians threatened Rodriguez after the first three hitters reached safely to load the bases with nobody out. Johnathan Rodriguez stepped up, and drew a walk to give Cleveland a 1-0 lead. Austin Hedges later singled with one out, driving in two runs and extending the lead to 3-0. Steven Kwan got an RBI after hitting into a fielder’s choice to make it 4-0. An error by Martinez extended the inning as the Guardians had two on with two out, then Jose Ramirez hit an RBI single to make it 5-0. Fellow Canadian Josh Naylor then drove in two with a single of his own to give the Guardians a commanding 7-0 lead.

The Blue Jays would get one run back in the top of the 4th, when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a solo shot to cut the deficit to 7-1. Unfortunately for the Jays, they would fail to produce as it stayed 7-1 for the remainder of the game. Toronto’s bats showed they were no help as they were only able to collect six hits, as for the pitching Rodriguez and Bowden Francis both had rough nights on the bump, allowing seven runs combined.

The Blue Jays and Guardians will see a pitching rematch from their first series together. Toronto will send Jose Berrios (6-5, 3.13) to face Ben Lively (6-3, 3.02) for Cleveland as the Jays look to even up the series with a victory tomorrow afternoon.

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