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.


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