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MLB: Cleveland Guardians at Los Angeles AngelsMay 26, 2024; Anaheim, California, USA; Cleveland Guardians pitcher Ben Lively (39) is greeted after the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Lively has been one of the majors’ biggest surprises for the Cleveland Guardians.

Meanwhile, Washington Nationals rookie Mitchell Parker continues to make a name for himself.

With each player looking to continue his success on the mound, the Guardians will aim for a ninth straight home victory on Saturday afternoon when they face the Nationals.

Cleveland’s rotation has endured its share of health issues, notably losing star Shane Bieber for the season. However, Lively (4-2, 2.80 ERA), pitching for his fourth different team since breaking into the majors in 2017 and two years removed from a stint in South Korea, has provided a needed boost.

After missing the first two weeks of the season with an illness, Lively has lasted at least five innings in all but one of his eight starts and has yet to yield more than three earned runs in any outing. The right-hander has won each of his last three starts and is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in three at home.

“Just throwing the ball over the plate. Getting pitches over the plate and making them competitive,” Lively said after he yielded a two-run homer, three other hits and two walks while striking out five in seven innings of Sunday’s 5-4 road win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Lively is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in his lone career encounter vs. the Nationals.

He will try to keep the good times coming for the American League Central-leading Guardians, who improved to 19-6 at home with a 7-1 victory over the Nationals in Friday’s series opener. David Fry’s three-run homer highlighted a four-run seventh for Cleveland, which is trying to win nine straight games at home for the first time since 2017.

“Come out and play every day. Play the way we play, and I think we’ll keep winning ballgames,” Fry told Bally Sports Cleveland.

One of the majors’ biggest surprises, Fry started the year as Cleveland’s backup catcher and worked his way into the everyday lineup at multiple positions. He is batting .352 with eight homers and 27 RBIs this season.

Fry and the Guardians will get their first look at Parker (4-2, 3.45 ERA), who has been solid since making his major-league debut April 15 for the Nationals. The left-hander also has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his eight career starts and has won his last two starts overall.

Facing a daunting Atlanta lineup Monday, Parker was charged with three runs in 6 1/3 innings in Washington’s 8-4 victory.

He has yielded just eight walks in 44 1/3 innings this season.

“It’s hard to win a baseball game when you’re giving up free bags,” Parker said. “The earlier we can get (the defense) back in the dugout and score some runs, good things obviously happen. I just want to keep that rolling.”

Washington had won five of the previous seven games before being limited to four hits on Friday.

Luis Garcia Jr. had three of those hits and is 8-for-15 in four career games against Cleveland over the last two seasons.

–Field Level Media

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