Cleveland Guardians start season off strong with series win in Oakland

Cleveland Guardians v Oakland Athletics
Cleveland Guardians v Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The Cleveland Guardians really could not have asked for a better start to the season, coming away with three wins in four games against the Oakland Athletics. Cleveland currently sits one game behind the 3-0 Detroit Tigers in the American League Central division.

Sure, a series sweep was on the table entering Sunday's contest, but considering they were held in check offensively until the 8th inning, with a large part of that being shut down by Paul Blackburn for the first four innings, it is hard to be too mad at dropping the final game in Oakland. If there is one thing to be irked about, it is how the 9th inning unfolded and handed the Athletics a win they truly did not deserve via a walk-off walk. But again, winning a four-game series on the West Coast with three wins in four tries is nothing to be mad about. It is not like the Guardians were going to go 162-0 anyway.

Yes, the Athletics are bad, and a series win should be expected, but it is not the fact that the Guardians won and nearly came back for a fourth win. It is how they did it. Cleveland outscored Oakland 26-7 through the first three games and almost mounted a comeback win on Sunday. This is impressive work and the type of offensive showings that were common in 2022 and eluded them in 2023.

Cleveland currently leads all of baseball in triples (3) and is tied for second in doubles (12), both contributing to a .832 OPS, which ranks seventh. Additionally, the Guardians have the fifth-most hits (42) and runs batted in (25). The one sore spot from an offensive standpoint, which is no surprise to anyone, is home runs. With just two long balls, the Guardians are in a five-way tie for 24th in that department. Starting the year in the outdated and dilapidated Coliseum in Oakland did not do them any favors there, but it should improve when they play in more hitter-friendly ballparks.

Up next is a much tougher test for the Guardians as they take on the Mariners in Seattle. Cleveland won the season series last year, four games to three, and is looking to continue their success this season. It is not going to be an easy task, but coming into this three-game set at 3-1 should have them feeling good about their chances.