In a season where the most optimistic preseason projections had the Cleveland Guardians fighting for a wild-card berth, it is hard to classify 2022 as anything other than an overwhelming success.
The Guardians took the youngest roster in the majors, saw across-the-board growth and progression of prospects into regular contributors, and saw their two franchise cornerstones lead them to run away with the AL Central and advance to Game 5 of the ALDS against the heavily favored Yankees.
Still, in an odd way, the Guardians’ 5-1 loss to New York Tuesday afternoon has to be a letdown for fans. Cleveland’s fan base seemed energized by the dominant stretch run, the thrilling wild-card series win, and the back-and-forth ALDS. They knew the Yankees were a power-hitting team and the key to winning this series would be to limit the damage done on big home runs.
Still, throughout the series that was ultimately the Guardians’ downfall, and Giancarlo Stanton’s three-run blast in the first inning proved too much for them to overcome in Game 5. The Guardians, as they were for much of the postseason, were unable to string hits together against Yankees All-Star Nestor Cortes, who was starting on short rest. The sting of getting beat by a left-hander who they had beaten in Game 2 after the originally scheduled Game 5 was postponed due to rain just adds salt to the wound.
Now the Guardians’ attention turns to an off-season where the focus is going to be keeping a young, growing group together, and figuring out how to add the pieces to push this young core over the top. The future certainly looks bright for Cleveland, and we’ll have it all covered right here at Away Back Gone. Keep it right here for off-season coverage, including a look back at the 2022 season, the growth of the 2022 rookies, analysis of the current state of the Guardians’ minor-league system, GM and Winter Meetings coverage, free-agency updates, 2023 previews, and more.