The Cleveland Guardians start the first of two season-altering series against the Minnesota Twins.
The Cleveland Guardians will face off with the Minnesota Twins twice in the next seven days for a combined total of eight games. These eight games will determine the season for both squads. For the Guardians, a miracle season can be confirmed but for the Twins, an offseason of huge contracts has to pay off for the squad.
Both teams are striving for the playoffs and both teams have vastly different levels of expectations to live up to. The Twins have dealt out huge contracts to free agents who are anything but a lock to return, while the Guardians are thriving with rookies in the outfield and patch-work pitchers in the rotation.
One team should be in first place, and one team shouldn’t. Many people didn’t expect that the Guardians would be the team in first this late into the season, yet here we are. The Guards have a 1.5-game lead over the Twins as we speak. If they take the next series, they’ll have at least a 2.5-game lead, and a 4.5 if they sweep the Twins.
If they lose, they could be 2.5 back at worst.
That cues up the five-game series next week. If the Guardians pull off the miracle of miracles and sweep the next eight games against the Twins, the Guards would hold a 9.5-game lead over the Twins, essentially ending their season. The same could be said in reverse, however. If the Guardians get swept, they’d be 7.5 games back.
That would end their season.
Both teams are too close to one another to trade body blows and come out the other side with a record good enough to make the Wild Card. Not only that, but the Chicago White Sox are just 1.5 games back themselves, and if the Twins and Guardians end up splitting the series 4-4, the White Sox could seemingly leapfrog both teams.
The best way forward is for the Guards to win the two series decisively while slapping the White Sox down in their one-game interlude in between the first and second Twins series.