The Cleveland Guardians have had a nice start to the season (which you can hear us talk about on the latest episode of the California Penal League podcast), sitting at 7-6 thus far. They probably should've had an extra win or two, but the Guardians could just as easily have lost an extra game or two in there as well.
The team has also been unlucky in regards to injuries. With 40% of the rotation on the IL, it's not how you'd script the season to begin. However, hope is on the horizon.
That hope will come in two forms: the inevitable arrival of heralded prospects and the forthcoming favorable schedule that lies ahead through the end of the month.
Over the next couple of weeks, the Guardians will face five clubs, who at the time of this writing are a combined 23-41. It's a list of clubs that at the beginning of the season many fans would likely predict to finish closer to 62-100 than 100-62.
Things can certainly change before the Guardians face any of these teams, but they do each give the Guardians a chance to find their footing and really get rolling. The next 15 games will see the team travel to Washington and Detroit, back home for Miami and Colorado, and then back out again to square off against last-place Boston at the end of the month. Not exactly a murderers' row by any means.
Surely there is a segment of fans disappointed by the team's start, but again, ten of the first 14 games were against a solid Seattle squad and the Yankees. Going .500 against those teams early on, as the team is dealing with injuries, is quite fine.
The club's .235 team batting average, six home runs, and .672 OPS (figures that currently rank in the bottom third of MLB team stats) all seem destined for a boost as the weather warms up and Cleveland faces some lesser-quality opponents.
The Rays' hot start is certainly a fun story to watch, but as the old adage goes, "You can’t win a division in April, but you can certainly lose it." It's this thought that we must all keep in mind; the season is a marathon, not a sprint.