Cal Quantrill grew up around the game of baseball with his father, Paul, who had a 14-year major league career with seven teams. So he probably understands the idea of pulling up stakes and moving in the middle of the season.
That doesn’t make it any easier.
The right-hander and his new Cleveland Indians teammates conclude their three-game road series against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday. Cleveland leveled the series at one win apiece with a 10-1 victory Tuesday night.
“I don’t know if anything prepares you for your first trade,” Quantrill said Tuesday. “It’s part of the sport. I feel blessed I came to a good team, a team that’s competing. That’s not always how trades work.
“This is a winning team. They have their culture. I’m going to do everything in my power to help this team win. I’ll find a way to fit into this culture.”
Quantrill was one of five players acquired by Cleveland from the San Diego Padres prior to the Monday trade deadline, and he’s one of three who reported immediately to the parent club. He was joined by catcher Austin Hedges and outfielder/first baseman Josh Naylor.
All three got in the game Tuesday. Naylor started in left field, switched to first base and finished the night 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs. Quantrill and Hedges came in in the eighth and finished the game, with Quantrill tossing two scoreless innings.
The Royals will try to reverse a disturbing trend on Wednesday. They are 3-31 in their past 34 rubber games of series, dating back to 2018. They are 1-7-3 in series so far in 2020.
Kansas City manager Mike Matheny didn’t have to work in anybody new from the trade deadline as the players the club acquired in late August were all sent to the alternative site. However, he believes it’s not as difficult as one might think for new players to get acclimated.
“You’d be amazed at the ‘degrees of separation’ in this game,” he said. “Everybody knows everybody. Players stress a lot about going into a new clubhouse, but usually most of them are surprised with how quickly they adapt and figure out their place.
“It’s never a real comfortable thing walking into a new place, maybe a team you’ve had some bad blood against even. But you figure it out quickly. Everybody is trying to do the same thing. They’re trying to win, first of all, and secondly to make the most of the abilities and opportunities they have. It’s just a matter of finding your space and being yourself. It’s like being the first day in a new school. You’ve got to find your space. Guys do it quicker than you’d expect.”
Matheny will send Jakob Junis to the mound in the series finale. In his first start back from the injured list, against the St. Louis Cardinals on Aug. 26, Junis tossed 3 2/3 innings of two-run ball. He struck out six while yielding four hits and a walk.
Considering the fact that starter Matt Harvey lasted just 1 1/3 innings Tuesday, it’s even more important for the Royals that Junis go deep in the game.
Junis is 3-6 with a 6.22 ERA in his career vs. the Indians. His 11 starts and 12 appearances against Cleveland are tied for his highs against any team. He has not faced the Indians in 2020.
Cleveland will counter with Triston McKenzie (1-0, 2.70 ERA). The right-hander, who struck out 10 batters in his debut on Aug. 22, will look to find the command he had in that outing against the Detroit Tigers. He didn’t locate his pitches as well his last time out, allowing two runs on three hits in four innings at St. Louis on Friday.
–Field Level Media