The Cleveland Guardians’ offense is a bit erratic but one stat is telling a very impressive story.
The Cleveland Guardians 2022 season has been inconsistent, to say the least. Once they were a top 5 scoring offense in the league but now they’re just 15th. Once they were in the Top 5 in batting average, now they’re eighth. They’re 13th in on-base percentage, 11th in slugging, and 13th in OPS. To say they’re a bit all over the place is an understatement.
Yet, the one thing they aren’t doing, at least as a team, is striking out. Through May 23, the Guardians are number one in fewest strikeouts and number in fewest games played. The Guardians have only 274 team strikeouts in 37 games. Even if they played 41 games like most of the other teams, the Guardians go from 1st in the league to 3rd.
While they were 11th last year in the fewest strikeouts for the team, the improvement at the plate is evident, especially in the likes of Owen Miller, Andres Gimenez, and Josh Naylor. All three men either had bad years in 2021 or were just unimpressive. Now with new hitting coach TJ Rivera, the Guardians seem to have a lot more disciplined at the plate.
That’s benefited the squad overall offensively but the lack of run support as of late is still a bit of a problem.
The Cleveland Guardians are not hitting on all cylinders
The offense is inconsistent but it’s good. Unlike the pitching. The Guardians are 22nd in team ERA. They’re not giving up home runs, nor are they walking guys, so what really seems to be the reason for such a high ERA (nearly 4.00 per game)?
Ironically, it’s the strikeouts. Apparently whatever voodoo the Guardians had Jobu do made the offense not strike out so much, and made the pitchers stop being able to. Without the ability to strike out batters, that means more balls are in play and more balls in play mean more potential runs, especially with this porous defense.
The Guardians are 27th in strikeouts for the season so far, they were 16th last year. This isn’t that surprising considering the state of Shane Bieber. Bieber is the strikeout king of the AL and has been since Corey Kluber was still in town.
He just recorded his first 10 strikeout game of the year this past weekend. Last season he had five 10+ strikeout games in six starts. Is it the injuries he suffered or the lack of spring training that has sapped him of this skill?
The entire squad is down from last year, and considering the Guardians are among the league’s worst defenses, this is allowing far too many unearned runs across the plate. The Guardians only have played 37 games, four less than the league average. Adjust the numbers to be more in line with the league, and the Guardians would go from 17th most errors in the league to 9th.
So as good as the offense has been until the Guardians can seal up the issues with the pitching staff and the defense, the team is going to continue to struggle.