He called it: Franimal predicted Guardians’ insane rally

May 14th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Mandy Bell’s Guardians Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

We all saw how jacked up Josh Naylor was after his insane two-homer performance (with one being a two-out, game-tying grand slam in the ninth) on Monday against the White Sox. What most of the world didn’t see is that somehow Franmil Reyes was the most excited person in the clubhouse after the game.

“Did you enjoy that?!” he yelled at reporters as we entered the room, with a grin stretching wider than the length of a football field.

Everyone had just witnessed history, seeing Naylor become the first player to log at least eight RBIs from the eighth inning on. His best friend Reyes was not only ready to brag about him, but also about the fact that he predicted the comeback.

Before Naylor was even presented with the opportunity to knot the score at 8 as the Guardians were down to their last out, Andr?s Gim?nez chipped away at the team’s six-run deficit with a leadoff homer in the top of the ninth. Prior to Gim?nez even stepping into the box, Reyes turned to Triston McKenzie and said, “McKenzie, we’re going to come back and take the lead in this game, and we’re gonna win it.”

What made him think the improbable comeback — one that Baseball Savant calculated to have just a 0.2% chance of happening — was a sure thing?

“I don’t know,” Reyes said. “‘The Franimal’ was heating up and I got four strikeouts today. Something good should be happening.”

If you can’t tell by Reyes referring to himself in the third person as “The Franimal,” his comment about his 0-for-5 night with four strikeouts was all in good fun. But he was right, he was heating up in a way we hadn’t seen yet in 2022.

Entering the road trip, Reyes had gone 12-for-23 (.522) with a double, one homer, five RBIs and a 1.256 OPS over his previous six contests. After an excruciatingly slow start to the season, it seemed like he had finally turned a corner. But even though he’s gone 0-for-8 since leaving Cleveland earlier this week, Reyes is confident that he hasn’t lost it.

“I had it,” Reyes said with a chuckle. “It looks like I lost it, but I haven’t. I’m very happy.”

Reyes has always talked about how much enjoyment he gets from going back to look at the replays of his monstrous home runs on the team’s iPads. Not because he wants to analyze his swing or admire his blasts, but because he loves seeing the angles that show the dugout’s joyous reactions.

So, if it took an 0-for-5 night for him to feel that comeback brewing, Reyes was certainly willing to sacrifice his own stats. And he was rewarded with a win and an epic dugout celebration that he was able to watch back.

“I love seeing the replays on the iPad,” Reyes said. “From the first-base side to see our dugout … it went down with that one. It was crazy!”