The Cleveland Guardians weren’t expected to seriously challenge for the AL Central crown this year: the Chicago White Sox were seen as the superior team.
But baseball is always full of surprises.
The Guards were tied for first place at one point in recent weeks, and are now four games behind, in second place.
The thing is that it’s not the White Sox they are chasing: it’s the 49-41 Minnesota Twins.
The 43-43 Guardians have been better than the 42-45 White Sox, both in record and in run differential (-9 to -37).
With some key players taking a step forward this year like Josh Naylor, Andres Gimenez, Eli Morgan, Triston McKenzie, and Trevor Stephan, the Guards now have a solid supporting cast to stars Shane Bieber and Jose Ramirez.
Oh, and they have a strong farm system behind them.
Despite losing seven of their last 10 games, the vibes are good in the Guardians’ dugout.
Aces Bieber and McKenzie were spotted doing a unique dance/celebration there, after Bieber’s dominating nine-inning, one-run start on Tuesday.
You can see it right here.
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) July 12, 2022
The Vibes Are Immaculate
Not only do we need an extended version of this, but we would also like to know what they were saying to each other.
In any case, the two pitchers seem to be having a good time: the Guards, while not playing particularly well as of late, are still right there, with the division crown up for grabs.
And Bieber and McKenzie are having very good seasons.
Perhaps we have come to expect a bit more from Bieber, but we can’t say he is having a bad year.
With a 3.24 ERA and 2.8 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in 105.2 frames, he has been one of the most reliable starters in the American League.
McKenzie, meanwhile, has a solid 3.47 ERA in 93.1 innings for the Guards.
Those two have been very, very good, and there is hope in Cleveland that they can lead the team to the playoffs again.