May 30, 2024 - Sports

Guardians aren't just for real, they're World Series contenders

Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Guardians celebrates after a home run.

José! José! José! José! Photo: Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A third of the way into this season, the Guardians are the darlings of Major League Baseball.

Why it matters: Cleveland is off to its best start since 1995 with a record of 37-19, which has led to an increase in home game attendance.

The intrigue: Not much was expected of the Guardians heading into the season after they finished with a record of 76-86 last year.

By the numbers: Cleveland's offense has rebounded this year, ranking third in runs scored and ninth in home runs.

  • The Guardians are also in the top 10 in team pitching categories such as ERA, strikeouts and saves.

Zoom outfield: Cleveland has continued its success despite losing leadoff hitter and two-time Gold Glove Award-winner Steven Kwan to an injury.

  • Kwan was leading the AL in hitting before straining his hamstring while chasing down a fly ball on May 4.

Zoom infield: Third baseman José Ramirez has emerged as an early MVP candidate with 16 home runs and a league-leading 56 RBIs.

  • First baseman Josh Naylor has added 15 home runs, while closer Emmanuel Clase ranks second in the league in saves.

Flashback: The Guardians haven't started this hot since 1995, when the team won 100 games and led the league in every major offensive category.

  • The '95 team featured a roster of all stars, including Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton, Manny Ramirez and Dennis Martínez.

Between the lines: The Guardians' success has boosted attendance at Progressive Field, which is up 17% over last year, according to Crain's Cleveland.

What's next: The Guardians kick off a three-game homestand against the Washington Nationals on Friday.

The bottom line: The Guardians rank with teams like the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies, who lead their divisions and are considered World Series contenders.

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Cleveland.

More Cleveland stories