Aug 29, 2023 - Sports

Guardians, Francona hit 2023 make-or-break point

Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona takes off his hat.

The beginning of the end? Photo: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The Cleveland Guardians have entered the make-or-break point of their season.

Driving the news: The team lost the first of three-game series with the Twins yesterday.

  • Cleveland is seven games back of Minnesota in the American League Central.

Why it matters: The Guardians are in danger of missing the playoffs, and manager Terry Francona's future with the team remains unclear.

Flashback: The Guardians entered the All-Star break in July atop the AL Central with a record of 45-45.

State of play:The team has gone just 17-25 since the break and is far back in the AL Wild Card race with the regular season set to end on Oct. 1.

Yes, but: Last season, the Guardians went from five games below .500 in late May to winning the AL Central and making it to the American League Division Series.

Reality check: This season has been different. Cleveland has won fewer close games, while its top-five defense last season has been just middle of the pack in 2023.

The intrigue: Adding to the stress is Francona's health.

Meanwhile, Francona has scheduled a shoulder replacement surgery and a pair of hernia operations for this offseason.

What they're saying: "I need to go get healthy for my life, and this lifestyle is just too difficult," Francona said at a press conference last week.

  • "I also know how I feel about doing the job a certain way, and I don't think I can necessarily do that anymore. And that bothers me."

The bottom line: The Guardians appear headed toward missing the playoffs, leaving fans with a disappointing season and the potential loss of a beloved manager.


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