Clase working to regain form as one of MLB’s elite closers

There’s nothing the Guardians would welcome more than seeing Emmanuel Clase turn into the lights-out closer that he was last season. And it seems like he may be on the path to getting there. Clase has had his fair share of struggles this year. He’s not striking guys out or missing bats as often as he did in 2022, but he’s found things that he can work on to help him right the ship. And after he blew his fifth save of the season over the weekend in New York, he had the perfect rebound against the White Sox on Monday, tossing a hitless inning with one strikeout to secure the save. “After that tough series, what I felt not being able to close those games, it’s a good feeling to be able to go over there and secure that win,” Clase said through team interpreter Agustin Rivero. Clase’s velocity is trending back in the right direction. After averaging between 96 and 97 mph on his cutter to start the season, most of the last few outings have consisted of triple-digit cutters. On Monday, his average velocity on his slider was up a tick (91.8 mph), and maxed out at 93 mph. “It looked like he was mad,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “Like he was throwing his slider 93. I don’t get a very good look from where I sit, but when he threw a couple of them sliders, I looked at [bench coach DeMarlo Hale] and I’m like, ‘You can’t hit that.’ That was good to see.”