Anthony Gose becoming the newest high-leverage 'weapon' in the Guardians' bullpen

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Anthony Gose
Anthony Gose

CLEVELAND — As the time drew near that the Guardians would need to announce who made the Opening Day roster this spring, Anthony Gose was trying to hide as much as he could until he knew he'd break camp with the big league club.

Manager Terry Francona passed him one day at the team's facility and asked Gose how he was doing. Gose's response: "I'm just trying to hide."

Francona found him the next day and informed him that, "You don't have to hide from anybody, man."

The Guardians certainly aren't hiding him from opposing teams. Gose's role has evolved into one of a high-leverage reliever.

Gose is no longer simply a plucky comeback story after having made the trek back to baseball's summit and completing the five-year journey from center field to the mound. He's a key weapon in the Guardians' bullpen.

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Gose made it back to the major leagues late last year, this time as a pitcher following a six-year career as an outfielder, and logged 6⅔ innings. The team said additional innings were needed in his development. Gose has clearly possessed major league stuff, including a high-90s fastball, but he's been a bit raw as a pitching prospect despite being in his 30s.

But his role is not that of a reliever working low-leverage innings or pitching in mop-up duty in the event of a blowout loss. He isn't the last reliever to make the roster, not by a long shot.

On Wednesday, Gose entered the game in the biggest spot for the Guardians this season. The Chicago White Sox had just cut the Guardians' lead to 2-1 and had two runners in scoring position with only one out. Triston McKenzie took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, but two walks and a double had the Guardians clinging to a one-run lead.

Enter Gose, who walked to the mound already in trouble until he struck out Josh Harrison and Adam Haseley to end the inning. The White Sox never put a ball in play. Gose also then worked a 1-2-3 sixth inning with two more strikeouts.

The Guardians went on to win 2-1, which followed an 11-1 win in the first game of the doubleheader. Those two wins brought the Guardians (6-5) into a tie with the White Sox (6-5) atop the American League Central standings.

Gose paved the way for the second win of the day by getting McKenzie and the Guardians out of that jam. Francona said this spring they viewed him as a potential 'weapon.' On Wednesday, that came to fruition.

"That was fun to watch," Francona said Wednesday night. "I think everybody knows how fond we are of the kid and how much we're pulling for him. He came in pumping strikes, and in the part of the game where it looked like if it was going to get away, that's probably when it would have. He calmed everything down and gave us a chance."

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Gose's journey has been a lengthy one. He worked his way through the many levels of the minor leagues with three different organizations before finally returning to the majors. He gained some additional experience in winter ball and carried that into this spring.

Gose is 31 years old, making him one of the oldest players on the roster. But he's also effectively a rookie still developing at the major league level. He joked that he still feels just as young as everyone else, and that all of the relievers go to veteran Bryan Shaw for everything.

He also said on Wednesday night that pitching can be a bit more difficult because he had other ways as an outfielder to get his job done. On the mound, you're on your own.

"You've got to throw strikes. Before, I could hit it and try to beat it out," Gose said. "There's other ways to get on base. But there's only one way to get somebody out, and that's to throw it over the plate. Obviously it hasn't been the easiest thing, but I've gotten a little more confident now, that's good."

That confidence has manifested itself, primarily, in the use of his slider, which was a needed element to complement his fastball.

Gose threw 15 fastballs (he hit 98 mph) and nine sliders Wednesday night, generating four swings and four misses with the latter.

"It's huge. Can't just do it with a fastball, I've learned that," Gose said. "Even in the minor leagues I wasn't able to just do it with a fastball. I've had to have something else to throw. I've worked on this the last couple of years and in the offseason, so it's been good."

The season is only 11 games old, but Gose got the biggest outs for the Guardians this season. In their first 10 games of the season, the Guardians either scored seven-or-more runs or two-or-fewer. All five low-scoring games had resulted in losses until Gose helped to reverse that trend.

With a little bit more experience under his belt and the slider working, Gose certainly isn't hiding from anybody now.

Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez, left, is off to a torrid start at the plate and is the first player in franchise history to hit two grand slams in the first 10 games of a season.
Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez, left, is off to a torrid start at the plate and is the first player in franchise history to hit two grand slams in the first 10 games of a season.

Jose Ramirez hits second grand slam, sets franchise record

Jose Ramirez's onslaught against opposing pitching continued in a big way on Wednesday, as he drilled a grand slam in the second inning of the first game. It was his second grand slam in the team's first 10 games of the season, making him the first player in club history and the ninth player in baseball history to accomplish that feat, according to Elias.

Ramirez is also one of only two players to hit at least one grand slam from each side of the plate within the first 10 games of a season, joining Todd Hundley in 1995.

That blast, along with an RBI double in the second game, gave Ramirez 20 RBIs this season. The Arizona Diamondbacks as a team entered their game Wednesday night with 21 RBIs. Ramirez recorded four three-RBI games, which tied an MLB record (since 1901).

At this point, nothing Ramirez does surprises those in the Guardians clubhouse.

"Honestly, I'm happy every day that I get to come in and just watch him play, because I feel like every day I'm amazed at just how good he is," McKenzie said.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read more about the Guardians at www.beaconjournal.com/sports/cleveland-guardians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.

Guardians at Yankees

Time: 7:05 p.m. Friday

TV: Bally Sports Great Lakes

Pitchers: TBD vs. Jameson Taillon (0-1, 3.72)

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Anthony Gose becoming the newest 'weapon' in the Guardians' bullpen