You ever think we’re in the “bad universe”? Like, maybe somewhere out there in the infinite void of time is a version of us that is perfect in every way and our favorite baseball team never loses? In an infinite number of universes, the 2021 Cleveland Guardians are probably undefeated somewhere right now.
What about another universe that is less extreme, but Cleveland — and sure, the Twins — aren’t on the fringes of playoff contention at best? What a fun series preview this would be — the predicted three-team race between Cleveland, Minnesota, and Chicago all coming down the wire with a series of pivotal matchups in September and into October.
Think about it. Staff ace and uninjured Cy Young contender Shane Bieber going up against Jose Berrios. Guardians outfielder Joey Gallo on pace to break the home run record. Somehow George Valera already debuted and is a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year. The Royals are 7-129 after requiring Eric Hosmer in the offseason. There’s no chip shortage and I can actually buy a damn Xbox Series X.
All I’m saying is I have dreams, and somewhere out there they are probably true.
The real Guardians aren’t too shabby right now either, though. They’ve been wildly inconsistent this season as injuries have exposed their limited depth, but they’ve won six of their last 10 and made a competitive series against the Red Sox. They’re 8.5 games back of the closest playoff spot, but at least they aren’t the Twins.
Where Cleveland’s season has been a tremendous disappointment in terms of a lot of things, Minnesota’s has been an outright disaster. They currently sit at 59-77, bottom of the AL Central, and one of the worst teams in all of baseball. Nelson Cruz, Hansel Robles, J.A. Happ, and José Berríos were all traded at the deadline, Byron Buxton’s hot start was cut short by injuries (again) and they are left wondering what to do with their supposed window to win over the next few years.
This four-game set is the penultimate series between these two teams. They wrap up with a three-gamer next week.
Team at a glance
- Record: 59-77 (13th in AL)
- Runs Scored: 615 (8th in AL)
- Run Differential: -111 (13th in AL)
- Last 10: 4-6
- Slash: .242/.317/.421
- wOBA: .318 (6th in AL)
- wRC+: 101 (7th in AL)
- ERA: 5.00 (14th in AL)
- SIERA: 4.30 (11th in AL)
- K-BB%: 13.6% (11th in AL)
Monday, Sept. 6, 6:10 p.m. ET: RHP Bailey Ober vs. Logan Allen
Tuesday, Sept. 7, 6:10 p.m. ET: RHP John Gant vs. Aaron Civale
Wednesday, Sept. 8, 6:10 p.m. ET: RHP Joe Ryan vs. Triston McKenzie
Thursday, Sept. 9, 6:10 p.m. ET: RHP Randy Dobnak vs. Cal Quantrill
2B, Jorge Polanco – It doesn’t matter how bad the team around him has been, Jorge Polanco just keeps trucking along. He’s set a new career-high with 26 home runs and if his 126 wRC+ holds it would be the highest of his career as well. He leads the Twins with seven hits over the last week.
3B, Luis Arráez – Luis Arráez’s approach is unique in today’s game — not a lot of walks or strikeouts, just a lot of contact — and he’s struggled at times to make it work this year as he looks to recapture the magic that made him so good in his rookie 2019 campaign. He’s gotten better as the season has progressed, however, and currently has his slash at .298/.365/.382.
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