Defeating the Braves is difficult enough this season, but the host Cleveland Guardians likely will be without one of their most dangerous hitters when they meet Atlanta on Tuesday in the second game of a three-game series
Josh Naylor left the series opener after six innings on Monday night because of soreness in his right wrist.
The Guardians cut a four-run deficit to 4-2 the inning after Naylor left, but that wound up as the final score. Naylor’s replacement at first base, Gabriel Arias, was retired on a bunt back to the pitcher leading off the eighth, and Cleveland later stranded two runners in the inning
Naylor leads the team in batting average (.295) and RBIs (60) and is second with 10 home runs.
After a slow first month of the season, Naylor hit .370 and drove in 18 runs over 100 at-bats in June.
Naylor was expected to undergo an MRI exam on Tuesday, Guardians manager Terry Francona said
Naylor originally sustained an injury to his right wrist against the Baltimore Orioles at the end of May, but Francona thought the tendinitis had subsided because Naylor had discontinued treatment.
That changed when Francona saw Naylor’s painful reaction when swinging the bat in his last plate appearance on Monday.
“You could tell he was hurting,” Francona said.
The Monday victory was the ninth in a row for the Braves, who have won 17 of their past 18 games. They also hit three more home runs on Monday, giving them at least one home run in 21 straight games
Atlanta leads the majors with 161 homers. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays are tied for second at 131.
“This is probably the ultimate lineup if you leave something over (the plate),” Francona said of the Braves. “They’re a pretty dangerous team.
Bieber (5-5, 3.48 ERA) had a 2.90 ERA in five starts in June but went just 1-2.
He deserved a better result in his most recent outing, on Thursday against the Kansas City Royals, blanking them on two hits over six innings and departing with a 2-0 lead. The Guardians eventually lost 4-3 in 10 innings
Bieber has started against Atlanta just once in his career, on April 21, 2019, and it didn’t go well. He was tagged for seven runs (five earned) and six hits over 2 1/3 innings in an 11-5 loss.
Bieber bounced back to go 15-8 in the 2019 season before winning the American League Cy Young Award during the shortened season the following year.
Allard (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his second start of the season for the Braves
Allard spent the first three months of the season on the 60-day injured list while recovering from a Grade 2 oblique strain.
He threw 4 2/3 shutout innings in his season debut on Wednesday during Atlanta’s 3-0 win against the Minnesota Twins. He allowed three hits, struck out eight and walked one.
“I’m just trying to do anything I can to keep the ball moving in the right direction and help this ballclub win as many games as possible,” Allard said. “It’s definitely cool being back playing with a lot of my friends I came up with.”
Allard has made one appearance against Cleveland in his career, allowing one run in 3 1/3 innings of relief without getting a decision on Oct. 1, 2021, while with the Texas Rangers.
–Field Level Media
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