3. Remember Last Year?
You wouldn't know it by looking at the final standings, but we had a similar situation with the Twins and the Guardians last year. Minnesota led the division for most of the year into early August before completely falling apart. The Twins went 25-36 from Aug. 1 onward to close out the season and end up below .500.
Cleveland, meanwhile, saved its best for last. The Guardians caught fire and went 40-21 from Aug. 1 on, surging past Minnesota and winning the division by 11 games.
Will history repeat itself? Maybe. It depends what both teams do at the deadline, but we like where Cleveland is at right now. The Guardians' youth should give them an edge during the dog days of summer when older players start fading. Cleveland's pitching depth should also help the team survive any injuries that may pop up.
What's more, young teams like the Guardians tend to band together during a playoff race. We saw them do it last year, and Terry Francona remains one of the best managers in the game. Rocco Baldelli is fine, but what has he won? Francona has plenty of experience navigating the rough waters of a postseason push and getting his team to the finish line.
I'm not expecting the Twins to totally collapse again, but I do think the Guardians will get hot and pull away at some point.
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