CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Guardians starter Triston McKenzie will pitch on Sunday for the first time in 106 days.
McKenzie was first placed on the injured list on June 17th with a right elbow sprain. After further testing, he was placed on the 60-day injured list on July 6th with a strained ulnar collateral ligament, an injury that often requires Tommy John surgery.
His last start was on June 10th at home against the Houston Astros. McKenzie pitched five innings and gave up five earned runs in that outing. He’s given up five earned runs with 15 strikeouts in only 10 innings pitched for Cleveland this season.
The right-hander is expected to be limited to 80 pitches on Sunday. The same pitch count was applied to Shane Bieber on Friday night when he returned from the 60-day injured list. Before Bieber’s outing, manager Terry Francona said it would depend on how Bieber gets to 80 pitches. The same likely applies in the series finale for McKenzie.
McKenzie has two losses in two career starts against Baltimore. He’ll likely get one more start this year as the Guardians finish the season with a three-game road series in Detroit that starts on September 29th.
New combination – Catching for McKenzie in the series finale will be utility player David Fry.
Bo Naylor remains out of the lineup with a right thumb contusion that forced him to leave Friday’s game.
McKenzie has only pitched to Cam Gallagher and Mike Zunino this season. Gallagher played catcher on Saturday and Zunino is no longer with the team, so this will be the first time McKenzie will throw to Fry in a game.
Stand for the land - The Guardians have three more home games left this season.
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Cleveland’s six-game home winning streak was broken on Saturday night with a 2-1 loss. The Orioles have gone 89 consecutive series of at least two decisions without being swept which is the fourth-longest streak in MLB history.
The Guardians and Orioles would split the four-game series with a Baltimore win in the series finale. Cleveland has already won the season series against Baltimore. With a win on Sunday, the Guardians would secure their third series win at home in September.
The Guardians own a 41-37 record at Progressive Field in 2023.