When the week started, the Cleveland Guardians were five games behind the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central standings.
They needed a sweep, or at least to take two out of three games, to make sure they still had realistic chances of overtaking them.
They lost on Monday and allowed 20 runs that day, and then they dropped Tuesday’s affair too, this time by a final of 8-3.
Now, the Guardians are seven games behind the Twins and while they still have to play on Wednesday, losing the first two really hurt their chances.
“The Twins have beaten the Guardians by a combined score of 28-9 the last two nights and Minnesota has all but wrapped up the AL Central!” Just Baseball tweeted.
The Twins have beaten the Guardians by a combined score of 28-9 the last two nights and Minnesota has all but wrapped up the AL Central! pic.twitter.com/u3f7BRJeLd
— Just Baseball (@JustBB_Media) September 6, 2023
On Tuesday, things were much closer than they were on Monday.
Tanner Bibee, the Guardians’ starter, matched Sonny Gray (the Twins’ pitcher) and tossed five quality innings, with just two runs allowed.
He did have five walks, which brought his pitch count high enough for him to depart early.
That’s where Minnesota struck: waiver acquisition Matt Moore allowed a run and Trevor Stephan, the losing pitcher, surrendered five.
The Guardians’ vaunted bullpen ended up losing the game.
Both teams have played 139 games, so they have 23 to go.
It would take a miracle for Cleveland to make the postseason at this point.
Minnesota is the better team between the two and has started to separate in recent weeks.
For the Guardians, it might be time to start thinking about the 2024 campaign.
There is no shame in that.
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