Guardians cannot afford to stumble this week

Cleveland Guardians v Tampa Bay Rays
Cleveland Guardians v Tampa Bay Rays / Mike Carlson/GettyImages

If the Cleveland Guardians are going to make the American League Central division race a fight, they cannot stumble during this upcoming week. At 4.5 games back from the Minnesota Twins, they cannot afford to.

A two-game trip to Cincinnati as they battle the Reds for the Ohio Cup gets things started Tuesday. Cleveland will have Logan Allen and Noah Syndergaard on the mound for these two matchups, and both are capable of keeping the Guardians in position to win a game. Additionally, it should be noted that the Reds are amid a 3-7 skid over the last 10 games as they fall further and further back of the Brewers for the National League Central lead.

Upon the conclusion of their brief visit to North Kentucky, Cleveland returns home to take on the Tigers for a four-game series. The Guardians should have the advantage pitching-wise in at least three games of their series with Detroit, the only toss-up being Saturday's matchup between Tanner Bibee and Eduardo Rodriguez. Also slated to start are Xzavion Curry, Gavin Williams, and Allen, as the rotation turns over at the end of the weekend.

There is another factor at play here, and that would be the team leading the divison. Minnesota also has a favorable schedule, taking on Detroit for two games before a three-game set with Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend. These are winnable games for the Twins, which puts a little pressure on Cleveland to take care of business.

One more thing to note. The Guardians have six games compared to Minnesota's five. If things go right for Cleveland, they should be able to make up some ground in the division due to the extra game. If not, this could be the final nail in the coffin, end the hope for Guardians postseason baseball.

This is a crucial week for the Guardians, and with their bats heating up over the weekend, things could get interesting by week's end. Maybe, just maybe, things start to go their way in a year where good luck has managed to evade them around every corner.