A look at the MLB standings shows the Cleveland Guardians leading the American League Central. But looking at its recent play, Cleveland has looked like anything but a first-place team.
Cleveland lost its fourth straight game on Saturday, falling to the Seattle Mariners. On its own, that’s a problem. Four-game losing streaks are never ideal. Four-game losing streaks in September when you’re in the midst of a playoff race are even worse. But perhaps the bigger issue is that the Guardians were shut out 4-0 and during the four-game losing streak, Cleveland has scored a total of one run. This franchise hasn’t experienced that kind of offensive futility in over 60 years.
The last time Cleveland scored 1 run over a 4-game stretch: July 3-6, 1961.
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) September 4, 2022
Furthermore, the Guardians weren’t exactly firing on all cylinders offensively before the losing streak started. Cleveland was 4-4 in the eight games leading into the current skid. In those four losses, the Guardians scored two runs once, one run once and were shut out twice.
All hope is not lost in Cleveland. The Guardians are still in first place and their nearest competitor, the Minnesota Twins, is going through its own offensive struggles. But even though they’re only 5-7 over their last 12 games, the generally disappointing Chicago White Sox are only two back in the division. It’s also highly unlikely that any of the American League’s three Wild Card teams will come from the Central. So, qualifying for the postseason will likely mean winning the division.
Cleveland is still in good position in the standings and has plenty of time to get its offense going in the right direction. If the latter doesn’t happen, though, the former will not likely be true for much longer.
[Mandy Bell on Twitter]