This is the time of year we as north coast baseball fans want to see. The Cleveland Guardians in first place, the young kids getting a chance to play, and now a stretch of games that will determine the future!
Here is the Guardians schedule through August:
Let’s look at each series.
Toronto Blue Jays vs Guardians at Rogers Centre
The Blue Jays series is huge. Toronto sits in second behind the Yankees at 60-50, but are first in the wild card standings. They give up almost the exact number of runs as the Guardians (469 vs 467) in one less game. But they come into the series losers of two straight to the hard charging Orioles.
They are 1st in batting average (.265), 5th in runs scored, 6th in homeruns, but 15th in ERA (3.93).
Key for Guardians
The pitching matchups have Cal Quantrill for the Guards, in his hometown, battling Jose Barrios, with a 5.19 ERA! Saturday’s probables are Tristin McKenzie and the dreaded TBD (to be determined)! Sunday Bieber toes the rubber for the Guardians but Toronto is still unsure. So Cleveland has their aces ready to go.
When the year began, the Blue Jays boasted probably the best rotation in the East. But injuries have taken their toll. Hyun-Jin Ryu is out after Tommy John surgery. Ross Stripling is due back from his hip issue. But the rainout Wednesday and off day Thursday have given the Blue Jay rotation a needed respite.
Most likely the Guardians will see Yusei Kikuchi, the lefty from Japan. Lefties always seem to have success on the Cleveland lineups! He sports a 2-3 record with a 5.72 era in the past seven games.
Then probably Kevin Gausman, the 6’2” righty from LSU, who is 1-1 in his last three outings but is throwing well and hasn’t given up a run in his last two starts! He is coming off the AL Pitcher of the Week and has a chance to finish in the top five in the Cy Young voting. His splitter is nasty!
Key for Blue Jays
Where the Guardians will need to be aware is the Toronto lineup that looks like a throwback to the early 2000’s with guys like Bichette, Guerrero and Biggio staring at you!
This lineup can win the Jays games that go 10-8 when the pitching struggles. After a stretch early in the summer where their bats went cold and runners were stranded on base like they were at an airport waiting for their soon-to-be-delayed flight, the lineup is showing signs of hitting again.
Hold Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. to being mortal and you could have a chance. His last seven games look solid but this past week has seen him in a 3 for 14 homerless slump! Whit Merrifield, traded for during the trade deadline, always gives the Guardians trouble!
The Guardians can win two of three games. If their hitting improves, then maybe a sweep!
Detroit Tigers vs Guardians at Progressive Field
Don’t let the recent three game sweep of the Tigers in Detroit fool you. Cleveland is 8-7 this year against the Tigers after that entertaining series. Detroit swept the four game set over the July 4th series and would love to ruin the Guardians in the next four game series!
Interesting to note: Right now, the all-time series is tied at 1142-1142! And after the four game series with a doubleheader on Monday, we say goodbye to the Tigers for 2022. But Wednesday is Clear Tote Bag giveaway day! So you got a free gift coming your way if you make it to the game!
The two teams will split the four game set.
Chicago White Sox vs Guardians at Progressive Field
This would be the final weekend series as many of the children will be heading back to school. Before we go into the breakdown, it’s party weekend at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario! Friday’s game is the first of the weekend’s Rock ‘N Blast presented by FirstEnergy! Making down to the park early and you will find $2 Pregame Miller Lite in the District!
(Photo courtesy of Guardians Promotional schedule page)
And my favorite promotion? Sugardale Dollar Dog Night (while supplies last), which they won’t! They never do!
Saturday is Rock ‘N Blast day 2 with blankets being given to the first 12,500 people, courtesy of Union Home Mortgage. And because you wanted it, $2 Miller Lite beers pregame in the district again!
Sunday is Kids Fun Day with kids being able to run the bases after. No, Timmy’s mom! You will NOT be allowed to run where Grady Sizemore ran!
With six games remaining against their AL Central foes and the Guardians sporting an 8-5 record, this three game set is vital. Cleveland sweeps and the White Sox hopes of a playoff spot are close to dead. But sweeping the Guardians will push the Pale Hose back into second place and give them a huge momentum swing!
As of this writing Chicago is 3.5 games behind Cleveland. They have a weekend series with Detroit then a four game set with the Western leading Astros. If Chicago comes into town losers of five of seven of these games, they could be poised to be the biggest disappointment in MLB this year since they were favored to repeat as AL Central champions.
Guardians take two of three. McKenzie, Bieber and Civale are scheduled for the Guardians. Only three games are left between these two after the series. Keep in mind that Sunday’s game will air on the Peacock streaming service, so first pitch will be right around the time most Catholic masses start!
San Diego Padres vs Guardians at Petco Park
After the Chicago series, the Guardians hop a flight to the west coast for a two game set with San Diego! Any Cleveland fan will tell you that games on the far coast are often brutal for the club. But at least Cleveland gets a day off before their short series.
The Padres are in the thick of the wildcard hunt. As of today, they are the last team in the playoffs. They most likely will NOT overtake the Dodgers for the division title, so their only path to the playoffs is via the wildcard.
Padres and the Trade Deadline
So as the trade deadline came and went, San Diego GM AJ Preller was active in improving the roster by landing the biggest star, Juan Soto! Soto recently declined a long term contract offer from the Nationals, so Washington did the best they could by receiving a huge haul of five outstanding Padres prospects and infielder Luke Voit. Included in the deal was Josh Bell who was rumored to be sought after by Cleveland.
Fernando Tatis Jr coming back from his wrist surgery, Soto and Bell now on board, a solid pitching staff with the addition of closer Josh Hader from Milwaukee, and the best player in baseball named Manny (Machado, that is) makes this Friars team on paper unbeatable.
Chills 🥶 pic.twitter.com/x5lLS20Vep
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 10, 2022
But their recent losses to the Dodgers have people wondering if they can make it to the playoffs!
Their starting pitching is a strength with Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove and Sean Manaea basically 1-2-3 in manager Bob Melvin’s eyes. Former Cleveland pitcher, Mike Clevenger, has shown some of his swagger in his last four starts, if you take away his shelling at the hands of the Dodgers!
Josh Hader as the closer solidifies that position for the Padres. So on paper, the Guardians have no chance, right?
Well, since June, the Dodgers have only lost four series, and one was to the Guardians! This young, Guardians club is afraid of no team! Bring on the west coast, these kids say!
The Guardians and Padres will split the series. But this could be a series MLB puts on some streaming service! Because they sure as heck can’t make it easy for the casual fan to watch ANY GAME this year!
Seattle Mariners vs Guardians at T-Mobile Park
Pick the hottest team right now. If the Mariners aren’t in the conversation, then you haven’t seen what this team is doing! With the win over the Yankees Wednesday, they closed the series with a winning record over the Bronx Bombers. And with teams on the schedule all under .500 until the Guardians get into town, Seattle can solidify their hold on second place in the wild card standings. Houston is just too far ahead of them in the division.
Wednesday’s win was courtesy of long time Guardian catcher/first baseman Carlos Santana, who was traded to the Mariners in late June. But the Mariners have been winning with not one starter with a batting average over .300 with at least 100 at bats! (Sound familiar, Cleveland fans?)
How are the Mariners winning?
Two reasons. One, they win the one run games. Last year they won 33 one run games to lead the majors. This year they have won 27 one run affairs.
Two, pitching. Trading for Luis Castillo from the Reds was enormous! Robbie Ray, the reigning Cy Young winner, is fantastic and electric when on. Second year starter Logan Gilbert has built upon his strong rookie season with a team best 10-5 record!
And their bullpen keeps them in games as four players have over 40 appearances. Closer Paul Sewald nailed it in a recent interview as to why Seattle wins these close games.
“I think we just play so many of them (close games) that we’re more comfortable in them than other teams…[a]nd I think that’s part of what makes us really good when we play these tough teams, is we play more of these one-run games than they do.”
This series is deemed important by MLB, too. It’s FoxSports1 game of the day Saturday and Friday night will be an Apple TV+ game. This is a huge four game series.
Seattle was in the playoff hunt until the last game of the season last year. They will not make that mistake. And I forgot to mention, they get back Julio Rodriguez who had been on the DL. The other Rookie of the Year candidate not named Steven Kwan is leading the club in hitting.
Each team will take two games. This would be a huge series to just leave the cell phone off, turn down the TV sound and get Hammy on the radio! Should be a wild four days in the Emerald City.
Baltimore Orioles vs Guardians at Progressive Field
Why not? It’s after the pandemic and everyone is seeing the strangest things happen in the world. And of course we have to add the Orioles to this list. They have moved up the AL East standings and are now in the wild card hunt. In fact, they are only 1.5 games behind the Blue Jays!
Followers of the Birds will tell you the rebuild is right on schedule. But really they are a bunch of youngsters and veteran castoffs that are leading this charge up the standings. So how do you improve a team at the trade deadline in Baltimore? How about trading your best hitter (Trey Mancini) and closer (Jorge Lopez)? How would that have gone over in The Land?
But that trade has opened avenues for rookies and veterans to show their talents. Catcher Adley Rutschman was the number one pick in 2019 for a reason. This kid can hit, field and run a pitching staff! Thirty-one year old vet Jordan Lyles leads this young staff with Tyler Wells (IR), Dean Kremer and Spencer Watkins rounding out a potential long-term strength of this club that harkens back to the 70’s staff of Jim Palmer and Doyle Alexander and Dennis Martinez.
Crazy how no hitter has an average over .270. But they have nine players with at least ten home runs. The Guardians only have three. Baltimore has eight guys with 30 or more RBIs. Cleveland has five. Many players are contributing for the Orange Birds this 2022 season!
This three game series is over two weeks away. Will the Orioles staff be keeping games close? Are the veterans immune from injuries? Can manager Brandon Hyde find more pixie dust to sprinkle over this roster? This should be two wins for the Guardians, but don’t be surprised if it’s the other way around!
Eleven wins with eight losses is how the rest of August will likely go. Of course injuries and odd bounces always play a part in what might happen. The Guardians have had their share as have the other clubs. Depending on their Central rivals, Cleveland should be in first place still.
Cleveland has many rookies making important contributions to the team’s success. But pitching remains the key. And if the Guardians can get a bit more hitting from this squad and with their somewhat easy schedule the last two weeks of the season, this tough stretch of playoff contending opponents will give the youngest team in MLB confidence in the playoffs!
Yes. I said it. Postseason! Why not?
Leave a Reply
NEO Sports Insiders Newsletter
Sign up to receive our NEOSI newsletter, and keep up to date with all the latest Cleveland sports news.
August 15, 2022 at 5:45 am
Please remind me again of the number of games that Carlos Santana played for the Guardians. The exact number was ZERO. Franchise history for the Cleveland baseball team goes back over 100 years. Guardians history goes back to the start of the season. Correct me if I’m wrong, that just might be the reason that there has been no throwback uniform games this year.