Guardians hope Triston McKenzie continues recent roll vs. Mets

After a rather rough start to the season, Triston McKenzie appears to have hit his stride for the Cleveland Guardians.

That likely doesn’t bode well for the New York Mets, who continue to struggle against AL competition this season.

Looking to continue his recent run of success, the right-hander tries to help the Guardians win their sixth straight and complete a three-game series sweep of the visiting Mets on Wednesday.

McKenzie (2-3, 3.23 ERA) went 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA and failed to complete six innings in any of his first three 2024 starts. However, in six starts since, he is 1-1 with a 2.10 ERA and either completed seven or pitched into the seventh three times for the AL Central-leading Guardians, who have won eight of the past nine and are amid a 15-3 stretch at home.

“He continues to get better and better each time out,” Guardians manager Stephen Vogt said.

In Friday’s 3-2 home win over Minnesota, McKenzie allowed just a solo homer, one other hit and struck out five in 6 2/3 innings.

“I think it’s just been a trend over the last couple of starts, just being able to pound the zone, force some contact,” McKenzie said.

“Just being able to make them put the ball in play and let the guys work behind me.”

This will be McKenzie’s first appearance against the Mets, who hit three homers Tuesday, but 7-6. New York has also lost five straight and eight of its 11 games against AL opponents in 2024.

Once beloved Guardian Francisco Lindor had two hits with an RBI on Tuesday, but is 2-for-9 in the series during his first return to Cleveland after the club traded him to New York in 2021. Meanwhile, teammate Jeff McNeil, who homered Tuesday, is 6-for-19 (.316) with four RBIs in his past five contests.

Scheduled Mets starter Jose Quintana (1-4, 5.21) allowed 12 runs and 16 hits in 7 2/3 innings while losing his first two starts of May. He gave up two runs and two hits while fanning four without a walk in 5 1/3 innings during Thursday’s 6-5, 11-inning road win against the Philadelphia Phillies.

“Better command, better execution of pitches,” Quintana said of his most recent outing. “I’m really happy with how I (threw) the ball (against the Phillies). I feel more in control.”

Quintana is 7-5 with a 2.74 ERA in 21 appearances (19 starts) against Cleveland. Guardians star Jose Ramirez is batting .310 (9-for-29) with three doubles against Quintana.

Ramirez had a two-run homer and an RBI double Tuesday. He’s batting .323 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs in the last 16 games.

Fellow Guardian David Fry recorded his first career pinch-hit homer Tuesday, a two-run shot in the sixth inning, that proved to be the difference in the outcome. The backup catcher has been a pleasant surprise at the plate during his second major league season, batting .338 and already setting career highs with five home runs and 18 RBIs in 33 games.

–Field Level Media