The Guardians' 2023 MLB postseason outlook doesn't look promising. As of August 18, they sit 8.5 games back of the American League's final wild-card spot with just 41 games remaining and several teams needing to be leapfrogged.
Barring a miraculous run, Cleveland will likely miss the playoffs for the third time since 2019. Our +29000 odds to win the 2023 World Series (No. 20) on FanDuel Sportsbook are a good indication that likely won't look more optimistic any time soon.
What hurts the most is that things looked promising for the Guardians back in July when they led the AL Central by 0.5 games heading into the All-Star festivities. Instead, Cleveland's gone 13-18 since the break due to general manager Mike Chernoff's poor in-season choices.
Here's a look at three midseason decisions by Chernoff that killed the Guardians in 2023.
3 Mike Chernoff Mistakes That Killed 2023 Guardians
1. Not Adding Another Starting Pitcher
One of the reasons why Cleveland qualified for the 2022 playoffs was due to a reliable pitching rotation. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case this year due to the injury bug.
Triston McKenzie has only pitched twice this season due to a lingering elbow injury while Shane Bieber is still on the 60-day injured list and likely won't pitch until September as he deals with elbow inflammation.
Even though the Guardians' pitching woes have been clear for months, Chernoff didn't do anything to address the issue heading up to the trade deadline. Instead of adding a starter who can eat some inning before McKenzie and Bieber return, he stood pat with his current group.
While I didn't expect Chernoff to go out and acquire a bigger name like Justin Verlander or Max Scherzer, any sort of additional pitching help would've been an improvement. I understand when a GM is confident in his players, but there comes a time when help is required.
Had Cleveland acquired just one bottom-of-the-rotation arm, there's a decent chance that the playoffs would be a more achievable goal at the moment.