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Let David Fry Cook

12:19 PM EDT on September 5, 2023

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 04: Cleveland Guardians position player David Fry (12) delivers a pitch to the plate during the sixth inning of the Major League Baseball game between the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Guardians on September 4, 2023, at Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Because the candidates' list for American League Cy Young award is fairly threadbare, allow us to fatten it up for you.

It's the last name on the Cleveland pitchers' list. David Fry, who is a backup catcher and as such throws the ball plenty on a daily basis, at least when he plays, got called on in the sixth inning of Cleveland’s 20-6 loss to Minnesota to give the pitching staff a break. Cleveland is trying to pretend it has a shot at a wild card berth despite being a week behind with less than four weeks to play, and their new acquisition Lucas Giolito was slapped around like a suspect in a '30s gangster movie. Enyel De Los Santos, one of Cleveland's more reliable relievers, came in in the fifth to get beaten up some more, and manager Terry Francona applied all his analytical powers to determine that a 10-1 deficit is just the spot for a backup catcher to eat an inning or so.

So out trudged David Fry, a 27-year-old rookie fresh off the injured list and ready to give it a go. His first pitch to Max Kepler was a screaming first-pitch lineout to center that convinced Francona on very little evidence that Fry could close this bad boy out. After all, it was an out, something Giolito, De Los Santos, and Sam Hentges could only coax from 15 of the previous 30 Twins batters.

So Fry stayed out there like the trooper he is—well, like the 27-year-old rookie catcher he is, anyway—and gave us four innings of exemplary chuck’n’duck that was mostly a tribute to, "I'll do my best, even if my best will look a lot like everyone else's worst."

So after Kepler, Fry’s day went as follows:

RBI single, fly out, RBI single, fly ball, popup, walk, home run, single, single, home run, lineout, foul pop (by Matt Wallner, who will hear about it for years), popup, single, fly ball, single, popup, groundout, groundout, double, home run (by Wallner, who now has a case to snark back at his tormentors), fly ball. He faced 23 hitters, allowed 11 to reach base and seven to circle them, but he did what he was tasked with and proved that he is game for anything, even tactical humiliation for the betterment of the team.

“I don’t care who you are, nobody wants to go out and just get their brains beat out,” manager Terry Francona said. “But he’s strong enough mentally to just not overdo it and he won’t hurt himself. And now, hopefully, we have a chance to win tomorrow. And if we do, he sucked up a bunch of innings for us.”

And Fry? "I was just trying to save [the bullpen]. Who cares what I do?"

Well, we do. In the wake of Giolito becoming the first player since 1899 to give up nine runs in a start for three different teams, which is probably the bigger concern for the Guardians, Fry made himself available as an insta–Cy Young candidate for getting his brains beat out, and he would probably volunteer to do it again today, in which case he IS Cy Young. In an otherwise forlorn season in Cleveland, give us some of that. Give us all the David Fry there is.

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