Guardians’ dominant bullpen’s scoreless streak snapped

Everyone in Cleveland’s ‘pen pitched at least one inning in this span, but the three biggest contributors all worked the late innings of games. Emmanuel Clase has allowed just one earned run across 30 1/3 innings this season (0.30 ERA). Gaddis had a 13 1/3 scoreless streak prior to Thursday’s hiccup. But Cade Smith’s 1 2/3 scoreless innings against Kansas City increased his own streak to 12 straight frames without allowing a run.

Everyone would’ve probably predicted that Clase would be lights-out again this year, even after he simultaneously led the league in saves and blown saves in ‘23. Gaddis, a starter-turned-reliever, emerged as a pleasant surprise for this group, earning his way into a high-leverage role. And for Smith…well, he couldn’t have asked for a better start to his Major League career.

He was the last man to make the Guardians’ Opening Day roster. Smith pitched well enough in Cactus League play to earn the job, but Cleveland still wanted to look externally to see if someone with more experience should round out the bullpen instead. Luckily for the organization, they didn’t find anyone. His season ERA has now dropped to 1.57 after escaping jams with two double plays on Thursday.

“He just keeps getting better,” Vogt said. “We’re joking with him that he’s a ground ball pitcher now. Three or four double plays his last couple outings. He just attacks the zone. His split’s getting better. His slider’s getting better. But he’s still got a really good fastball.”