Pitching plays in October. Dominant starting pitching is the way that MLB teams typically try to build their teams. The classic template for an unexpected run to a World Series victory is the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, who rode Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling to ultimately defeat the favored New York Yankees. For a small or mid-market club, the window to win the World Series depends on healthy, dominant starting pitching. The Oakland A’s tried this path for years with Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito, ultimately coming up short and proving that the formula does not always work.
The Guardians, however, have the pieces to make it work. Ace Shane Bieber and 2022 breakout star Triston McKenzie form a 1-2 punch that can match up with any other team in the playoffs.