The All-Star break is rapidly approaching and with it comes an opportunity for the Cleveland Guardians to make up some ground in the division. As things stand currently, the Guardians are just a game and a half back of the Twins in the American League Central Division.
Cleveland has 13 games remaining before the break, with only three of them against a team over .500 (Atlanta). The other nine games are against the Royals, Cubs, and then the Royals again as the first half comes to a close. With a combined record of 110-122 (only counting Kansas City once), this is a bit of a softer schedule than what the division leading Minnesota Twins will be facing.
Minnesota has already begun their three game series with Atlanta, losing the first game to help the Guardians make up half a game in the standings while idle. It is two more against the Braves, followed by three in Baltimore and a first half ending home stand against the Royals and Orioles for three games each. The win-loss record for Minnesota's schedule is nearly the inverse of what Cleveland has on deck at 121-112 (like Kansas City above, only counting Baltimore once here).
It is worth nothing that each club faces the same club twice as the first half of the season comes to a close. For the Guardians that would be the Royals while the Twins have the Orioles. There is a very distinct difference in these two ballclubs as one (Baltimore) trails their division leader by 4 games while Kansas City is entirely out of the postseason picture at 17 games back.
Even though Cleveland has seven games against the Royals and facing a division can be a bit tricky at times, the overall softer schedule for the Guardians is an opening they must take advantage of. It will not be long before the trade deadline approaches and if they are able to move ahead of the Twins it could point towards some exciting acquisitions being made. If not, trades will be made, but not of the big-time acquisition variety that everyone is clamoring for.