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Guardians’ Ben Lively bids for better showing in rematch vs. Jays

A week ago, Ben Lively endured his worst outing of an otherwise stellar season. It came at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Cleveland right-hander eyes a better performance in his second career encounter against the visiting Blue Jays. He’ll also try to help the Guardians to a fourth consecutive victory and series win on Saturday.

Lively (6-3, 3.02 ERA) has been one of the majors’ biggest surprises in 2024. Through the first 10 starts in his initial season with Cleveland, the 32-year-old Lively had a 2.59 ERA and didn’t allow more than three runs in a game.

On Sunday at Toronto, Lively was charged with four runs on six hits with three walks in a season-low four innings of the Guardians’ 7-6 loss. The outing came after Lively exited his previous start at Miami on June 8 with what the club deemed “general tightness.”

“I was falling behind and I had to throw the ball over the plate,” said Lively, who said he physically felt good after Sunday’s start.

“It makes me more mad about (Sunday) because I love to go (deep into starts). It’s what I’m supposed to do. Just kind of focus on that.”

The good news for Lively is that the Guardians have momentum after they opened this series with a 7-1 victory. Cleveland has won three straight after losing three in a row and is 24-9 at home.

“When our guys are up there fighting, doing anything they can to help the team win, that’s what gets us going,” Guardians catcher Austin Hedges told Bally Sports Cleveland.

Toronto star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had a pair of hits against Lively, and ex-Guardian Ernie Clement clubbed a two-run homer off him last week. Guerrero homered among his two hits Friday and is batting .320 in his last seven games.

However, Toronto has been outscored 25-10 during a four-game losing streak after totaling 12 runs to win the final two contests of a three-game home set against Cleveland.

“You get back after it,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “Hopefully we can get back on track.”

Scheduled Blue Jays starter Jose Berrios (6-5, 3.13 ERA) didn’t allow a run through the first four innings against Lively and the Guardians on Sunday. He then gave up two runs in the fifth and a two-run homer to rookie Daniel Schneemann in his sixth and final inning of work.

It was just the second time in 15 starts this season that the right-hander allowed more than three earned runs.

Cleveland’s Steven Kwan and Will Brennan each went 2-for-3 against Berrios last weekend. Kwan, batting .387 on the season, had his 14-game hitting streak end Friday but he’s reached base in 26 consecutive contests.

Meanwhile, teammate and Toronto-area native Josh Naylor, who had two hits and two RBIs on Friday, is 6-for-13 with a homer against Berrios.
Berrios is 6-5 with a 4.80 ERA in 18 career starts against Cleveland.

Prized Toronto prospect Orelvis Martinez could be in the starting lineup again for this contest after going 1-for-3 in his major-league debut Friday.

–Field Level Media

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