The 2022 Cleveland Guardians have been good.
Not excellent or great, but definitely better than anticipated given that they were out of the playoffs last year.
At 53-49, they are just one game behind the Minnesota Twins for the AL Central lead.
They don’t have a particularly powerful offense, but with opportunistic and timely hitting and some strong pitching, the Guardians have been able to remain in the race, to the surprise of many.
Most of their wins are hard-fought affairs, often by one or two runs.
And they have also won lots of games in the last at-bat.
You could firmly say these are the Guardiac Kids.
“No team does it quite like those Guardiac Kids,” Bally Sports Cleveland tweeted, with a graph showing the teams with the most last-at-bat wins during the 2022 campaign.
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) August 2, 2022
The Kings Of Thrillers
The Miami Marlins and the Seattle Mariners are tied for third place with 15 such wins.
The New York Yankees are second with 17.
It’s probably not a surprise for you to learn that the Guardians lead that stat with 20 wins.
That’s actually very impressive, but a sign that the team should improve if it wants to secure a place in the postseason.
When a team wins lots of close games, it shows that their relief usually keeps them in games, but also, it’s evidence that they rarely earn dominant, lopsided wins.
The sign of an elite team is usually run differential.
At +16, the Guards are good, but more production by the pitching and, especially, the offense will be needed in order to secure a spot in October.
Without any big deadline additions in the stretch run, they will have to rely on their young players and prospects to provide a spark.