Five consecutive series losses can impact the perception of a team and that is exactly the case when it comes to the Cleveland Guardians. ESPN's Week 5 power rankings have been released and Cleveland is plummeting. The Guardians previously found themselves ranked 15th, but their losing ways have seen them drop to 19th.
ESPN provides explanations for why each team is slotted where they are, below is Cleveland's.
""The Guardians' No. 14 ranking in rotation ERA is a modest improvement over last season's slot at No. 20, but perhaps that improvement looks more impressive when you consider Cleveland has been without Triston McKenzie and Aaron Civale for all but two Civale starts. Even more encouraging is that the Guardians' starting pitching factory seems to once again be churning out the quality arms. It has been only seven starts combined for rookies Peyton Battenfield, Logan T. Allen (not to be confused with former Cleveland pitching prospect Logan S. Allen) and Tanner Bibee, but the trio has been impressive. Together over those seven outings, Battenfield, Allen and Bibee have put up a 2.89 ERA with 41 strikeouts, 10 walks and four homers allowed over 37⅓ innings.""- Bradford Doolittle on the Guardians rank
The focus here is clearly pitching and that appears to be by design. There really is not a whole lot of positive takeaways from the Guardians offense, but most of the pitching staff seems to be pulling their weight. The new infusion of arms into their rotation shows promise for the future while at the same time forcing decisions on players who appear to be on their way out.
As the month of May begins, Cleveland finds themslves at 14-17 and that is not where anyone expected to be. Even though this ballclub routinely starts slow under Terry Francona, it is not an excuse There were multiple series that should have ended up as wins for the Guardians, but their poor performance did not lead to a positive result. If the Guardians are going to be competitive in the division and make it back to the postseason, they are going to have to string some wins together and fast.