The Cleveland Guardians’ beautiful, chaotic season
The Minnesota Twins have had enough of the Guardians, but Cleveland fans are becoming an insatiable bunch.
One day after Josh Naylor carried Cleveland to victory, the Guardians walked off Minnesota again on Thursday. As Andrés Giménez’s two-run shot sailed over the fence, longtime Twins broadcaster Dick Bremer sighed and declared:
“I think we’ve had enough of the Cleveland Guardians.”
I can’t blame him for feeling that way. Even though Minnesota holds a one-game lead over the Guardians, Cleveland is winning the season series, 6-5. In a year where the other AL Central teams are underperforming, it’s becoming a two-team race, and the Twins are struggling.
Even more pressing is the fact that the Twins have surrendered leads in three of their past five games against the Guardians. Their bullpen has let them down, especially since Minnesota was tied with Cleveland prior to Giménez’s dinger and, on Wednesday, scored three runs in the 10th before their relievers gave up four.
I can understand why Dick Bremer is tired of Cleveland. But I certainly am not.
This squad is the definition of chaos. They had a six-series period where they either swept their opponent or their opponent swept them. Then they ducked under .500 for a while. Then they won 15 of 19 games. Then they lost six of seven. Now, they’ve taken a second consecutive series from their primary divisional rival. Go figure.
The uncertainty surrounding the team is equally important. José Ramírez is as close to a sure thing as you get outside of one particular Angels outfielder, but the rest of the team is young – younger than even the youngest Triple-A rosters, if you can believe that. The Guardians have a number of surprise stars, including players like Giménez and Amed Rosario, who have improved since last season.
Things get even murkier when we realize that Guardians teams are rarely in their final form by this time of year. Seventy-three games in, the Guardians have had essentially the same record every season since 2016 (excluding 2020, when they didn’t play 73 games). The most wins they’ve had at the 73-game mark was 43 (in 2016), and the fewest was 39 (this season, 2019, and 2017). Guardians teams rarely show their true colors before July or even August.
In other words, we have no idea what this roster will do.
Are they contenders? Are they lucky? There’s no way to know right now. The next month of roster moves and trades is critical. It might single-handedly determine if Cleveland fans will have games to attend this October.
The only thing I know: I certainly haven’t had enough of the Cleveland Guardians. Not even close.