Cleveland Guardians in good place despite series loss to Braves

Cleveland Guardians v Atlanta Braves
Cleveland Guardians v Atlanta Braves / Casey Sykes/GettyImages

For just the second time in nine series to start the season, the Cleveland Guardians found themselves on the losing side of things. Even though the Guardians had their chance to come away with their eighth series win of the year on Sunday, they were not able to pull through in extras, as the Atlanta Braves secured a series win by handing Cleveland a 4-3 loss in 10 innings. It may seem that the Guardians are heading into Monday's off day on a down note, and in a sense they are, but when evaluating their performance so far, it is easy to see that they are in a very good place.

At 19-9, the Guardians are tied with the Atlanta Braves for the most wins in all of baseball and hold a half-game lead over the New York Yankees for the American League's best record. Cleveland's run differential of +46 is just one behind Atlanta (+47) and three ahead of the Yankees (+43). Considering the widespread concern about the Guardians' offense being able to score runs this year, given how things went last year, they appear to be in a very good place at this time. With 143 runs scored, Cleveland currently ranks eighth in that category, which is infinitely better than what most were expecting out of this group.

It does not stop at just the offense, as the Guardians' pitching staff has also done their job. Limiting opponents to just 97 runs so far, Cleveland is one of three teams to have less than 100 runs scored against them so far, the others being Seattle (94) and Kansas City (90). What makes this mark even more impressive is that this has mostly come without their best pitcher, Shane Bieber, in addition to the delayed debut of Gavin Williams. Cleveland's pitching staff has benefited from the surprising performance of Ben Lively, who has carried the rotation following Bieber's injury and has made the serviceable outings from Carlos Carrasco, Logan Allen, and Triston McKenzie a bit more palatable.

Would everyone be a little happier if the Guardians were able to hold off Atlanta's late-game surge on Sunday and win another series? Of course, but ending up on the wrong side of a rally will happen occasionally, despite Cleveland being mostly on the right side so far. It is important to remember how long a baseball season is and to focus on the high volume of games remaining. A team is guaranteed to win 25% of their games and lose 25% of their games, it is what they do with that other 50% that matters. The loss on Sunday (and Friday) was part of that 25%. The Guardians must move forward and focus on winning the games that are ahead of them.