Lucas Giolito clobbered in Guardians debut; David Fry saves bullpen | Jeff Schudel

Sep. 4—Takeaways from the Twins hammering the Guardians, 20-6, on Sept. 4 at Progressive Field:

—It was only one game.

Lucas Giolito's debut with the Guardians was an all-time clunker. The Guardians claimed him on waivers from the Angels on Aug. 31 — the last day players could be acquired by a team and be eligible for the postseason.

Giolito lasted three innings. He gave up a solo home run to Jorge Polanco, the Twins' second batter of the game, in the first inning. He walked in a run and then gave up a grand slam to Royce Lewis in the second inning.

Terry Francona sums up Lucas Giolito's rough start and David Fry's gutsy relief effort in the #Guardians 20-6 loss to the Twins on Monday night.

— Jeff Schudel (@jsproinsider) September 5, 2023

A fan in the seats on the third base side of the stadium with a strong set of lungs shouted "Bring back Syndergaard!" referring to Noah Syndergaard. The Guardians acquired Syndergaard from the Dodgers for shortstop Amed Rosario in late July.

Syndergaard made six starts for the Guardians and was 1-2. He gave up 10 home runs in 33 1/3 innings — no surprise because he gave up 12 home runs in 55 1/3 innings pitching for the Dodgers.

The Guardians designated Syndergaard for assignment on Aug. 27.

Giolito started the season with the White Sox. He was 6-6 when he was traded to the Angels. He was 1-5 with Los Angeles when the Angels gave up on him.

The Guardians are not going to give up on Giolito after one start, as miserable as it was — seven hits, three home runs and nine earned runs over three innings.

The start for Giolito was the seventh in his career at Progressive Field. The six previous were with the White Sox. He was 3-1 in Cleveland with a 1.67 ERA — the lowest ERA of any non-Cleveland pitcher at Progressive Field since 2017 with a minimum of 30 innings pitched.

—Duty called, and David Fry, normally a catcher or infielder, answered. Francona didn't want to burn his bullpen, so he replaced Enyel De Los Santos with Fry in the sixth inning. Fry pitched like it wasn't his natural position, but he ate up four innings.

Fry gave up 10 hits, three of them home runs, and was charged with seven runs. He walked a batter and allowed two inherited runners to score.

—The loss dropped the Guardians six games behind the Twins in the AL Central with 24 games to play. The division rivals meet again at 6:10 p.m. Sept. 5 and 1 p.m. Sept. 6 to conclude the season series. The Guardians lead the series, six games to five. If the two rivals finish tied for first, the team that wins the series wins the tiebreaker.

A six-game deficit this late looks grim, but keep in mind the Guardians lost the series opener in Minnesota last week and then won the next two games. The Guards will head west for four games with the Angels and three with the Giants four back if they repeat the pattern.

—There was a bright spot to the game. First baseman Josh Naylor, in his second game back from an oblique injury, collected two hits in three trips to the plate. Manager Terry Francona lifted Naylor and third baseman Jose Ramirez in the top of the seventh with the Twins leading, 13-1.

—Minnesota was leading, 18-2, in the bottom of the seventh inning when Twins reliever Brent Headrick hit Andres Gimenez with a pitch. They were leading, 18-3, in the eighth when Headrick hit Bo Naylor with a pitch. Fans who hadn't abandoned Progressive Field booed with venom in their voices.

Rookie Tanner Bibee pitches for the Guardians on Sept. 5. Will he retaliate by plunking a couple of Minnesota batters? Stay tuned.