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News and Notes: Happy First Opportunity to Complain About the 2024 Cleveland Guardians Day!

Cleveland Guardians v Oakland Athletics
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

News and Notes for Monday, April 1st, 2024

April Fools! There really is something to complain about while rooting for a baseball team EVERYDAY if you look hard enough.

But, the complaints are particularly numerous after the Guardians fell 4-3 to the Oakland Athletics in a walkoff loss:

- Why did the Guardians try a safety squeeze play with runners on first and third with nobody out in a tie game late with a player who has had two successful sacrifice bunts in the past four years of his professional career at the plate?

- Why did manager Stephen Vogt pitch Scott Barlow for a second inning in a row and then bring Eli Morgan in for the third out of four games with the bases loaded instead of closer Emmanuel Clase? Is Vogt an adherent to the antiquated thinking of “don’t use your closer in a tie game on the road?”

- Bo Naylor had an awful game at the plate and on the bases, getting picked off on a safety squeeze. So much so that someone suggested on Twitter that he should “split time 50/50 with Austin Hedges.”

- Gabriel Arias looked bad the plate and off-kilter in the field in his first start at third base.

- Ramon Laureano’s “experience” in Oakland’s centerfield did not seem to help him play well there, leading to questions about why Estevan Florial isn’t given a chance there.

- A’s pitcher Paul Blackburn dominated the Guardians with an effective sinker, slider, cutter, fastball mix.

- Carlos Carrasco danced around trouble for five innings, giving up only three runs, but it’s certainly questionable if his plus curveball and solid changeup are going to be enough to keep hitters off his 90-91 mph fastball for the next week or two while Gavin Williams ramps up.

With all that said, it’s encouraging to see the Guardians fight back against a bad A’s bullpen after being down 3-0 late. There are no moral victories, it’s just a good sign that the batters were able to tie the game and give themselves a chance at the four game sweep. Ramon Laureano had two hits, as did Josh Naylor, and Estevan Florial had a triple and a walk. Again, stringing together base hits is a tough way to score; a home run or two and the Guardians likely win this game. For the pitching, Hunter Gaddis, again, looked dominant in a scoreless inning of relief.

There are going to be points of learning and growth with a rookie manager and Easter Sunday was one for Vogt, as Mandy Bell wrote. Let’s hope he sits down with coaches and analysts and makes necessary adjustments. For what it’s worth, I didn’t mind the safety squeeze but I do question if Arias is the right player to have at the plate in that circumstance, and the coaching really has to have Bo locked in at third on the play. Aggressiveness is great, but losing games on the basepaths feels just as bad as losing games in the bullpen, and this game kinda felt like both happened.

The Guardians move on to a three-game series vs. the Seattle Mariners at 9:40PM EST which should be a much better early season measuring stick. Triston McKenzie will get his first start of the year.’s Mandy Bell wrote about a WWE championship belt the Guardians are using to make things fun in the clubhouse.

Guards Insider released the rosters for the Lake County Captains and Lynchburg Hillcats this weekend. We’ll have previews of both rosters for you soon as Akron and Lake County open their seasons later this week and Lynchburg opens the following Tuesday:

Potential MLB #1 pick Charlie Condon of the Georgia Bulldogs had a great weekend series vs. sixth ranked Tennessee, but he did go 0 for 4 on Sunday.

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