CLEVELAND -- There can be a lot of pressure heaped on the shoulders of a player acquired via trade by a postseason contender. When outfielder Brandon Guyer learned he was dealt to the Indians, he looked at things in a particular manner in order to alleviate any unnecessary stress."They already
CLEVELAND -- There can be a lot of pressure heaped on the shoulders of a player acquired via trade by a postseason contender. When outfielder Brandon Guyer learned he was dealt to the Indians, he looked at things in a particular manner in order to alleviate any unnecessary stress.
"They already had a great team," Guyer said. "So it's not like I've got to come in here and be a savior or anything."
Instead, Guyer just needed to continue thriving in what has become a specialized skill: hitting left-handed pitching. In a 10-7 loss to the White Sox on Wednesday, Guyer also showed that he can chip in against righties, if needed. Given a rare start against a right-handed starter, Chicago's Anthony Ranaudo, Guyer contributed three hits, including a two-run single.
Acquired from Tampa Bay in exchange for a pair of Minor Leaguers prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Guyer has developed into one of baseball's elite hitters against lefties, making him a great fit for Cleveland's roster down the stretch.
Including Wedesday's showing, Guyer has lived up to his billing, hitting at a .462 (12-for-26) clip with three extra-base hits in 11 games for the Indians. On the year, the outfielder is batting .354 with a 1.095 OPS in 103 plate appearances against left-handers, improving his career showing to .288 (.860 OPS). On Friday, Guyer homered, collected three hits and knocked in five runs.
Among batters with at least 100 plate appearances against lefties this year, Guyer entered Wednesday ranked first in the Majors with a 202 Weighted Runs Created Plus. That means he has played 102-percent better than league average offensively.
If Guyer felt any pressure, his early showing for the Tribe has surely helped it subside.
"It's nice for guys to have a little success, so they can settle in," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Because it's human nature that you try really hard. And then, when you try really hard, that first week turns into two weeks, and two weeks turns into three, and you're like, 'Whoa.' It gets hard. So yeah, it is nice [to see Guyer contribute right away]."
Francona does not view Guyer as a strict platoon player, though, and the outfielder does not think of himself in that manner, either.
"The past three years, I've played a lot against righties," Guyer said. "So no matter what the situation, I'll be comfortable. But right now, it's play against lefties. Like I said, whatever it takes to help this team win. Whatever that is, I'm happy to do it."
Overall this year, Guyer has hit .265 with 23 extra-base hits in 74 games, which includes 176 plate appearances against right-handed pitching. Four of those plate appearances came in Wednesday's loss to the White Sox.
Francona plans on picking his spots for using Guyer against righties, especially considering outfielder Abraham Almonte's situation. Almonte will not be eligible for the postseason, as part of his punishment for testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance, along with the 81-game suspension he already served.
"When Abe isn't the obvious choice, we'll play some other guys," Francona said, "just because if we're fortunate enough to move on, we're going to have to do it without him anyways."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.