McKenzie (13 K’s) deals as Cleveland creeps closer to title

The win moved Cleveland six games ahead of Chicago with just 13 games remaining in the regular season and trimmed the magic number to win the American League Central title to seven.

As the intensity of their games have increased, the Guardians have found another gear. The offense has found a rhythm and the pitching staff has been rock solid. And when two of the players who have been consistent and dependable all season are finding ways to get hotter down the stretch, it’s an easy recipe to stay in the win column.

Triston McKenzie has been everything the club could’ve asked for this season. The biggest concern was whether he’d be durable enough to handle this type of workload for the first time in his career. But as he mowed down White Sox hitters, giving up two runs on six hits with 13 strikeouts in eight innings, he’s continuing to prove he’s stronger than ever.

As important as McKenzie has been to Cleveland’s success this year, Steven Kwan has been even more critical. The Guardians had no idea just how impactful Kwan would be when he made his debut on Opening Day, but now it’s hard to imagine the team in first place without him at the top of the order. Kwan entered the day with 11 hits in his last 21 at-bats before he logged two quick singles early, followed by a solo shot in the fourth off Chicago’s Lance Lynn.