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Guardians face stiff competition in MLB-leading Yankees

Out of the AL Central and into the fire

MLB: JUN 29 Twins at Guardians Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Whatever happens over these next three days, let’s just all remember we’re friends here and baseball is a kid’s game.

While I have full confidence in the Guardians to win some games — even when I’d least expect it — they are going up against the top team in baseball this weekend. Not only that, but they are going up against that team’s three best pitchers.

Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, and Jordan Montgomery will toe the rubber for the Yankees in this three-game set; only Montgomery has an ERA over 3.00, at 3.27. Cole leads the group with a 31.8% strikeout rate, which also ranks fourth in baseball.

Cole’s worst start of the season came on June 9 when he allowed seven earned runs against the Twins in 2.1 innings. Since then, however, he has allowed just two earned runs in 20.1 innings with 27 strikeouts and six walks. Those are against some legitimate lineups too — the Rays twice and the Astros once. He has apparently learned how to pitch without sticky stuff and is back to being one of the game’s best pitchers after a few hiccups at the end of last season.

Offensively, there is not much to say other than “duck.” Balls are going to be flying hard and fast as the Yankees are second in baseball with a 43.3% hard-hit rate and they barrel the ball 11.2% of the time, second in MLB. They are led by Aaron Judge, who is putting up another MVP-caliber season with 29 home runs and a .286/.361/.627 slash in 75 games so far.

Designated hitter and part-time right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is also having a resurgent year, with 19 home runs and a .249/.333/.524 slash. He’s currently on pace for his best offensive season 2017, his last in Miami when he finished with a 158 wRC+. He hasn’t even come close to that mark in a full season with the Yankees, but he’s sitting at a 142 wRC+ right now, with a BABIP (.266) that suggests it’s not all luck so far.

The Guardians escaped their five games against the Twins with a series win thanks to some clutch hitting, but they won’t have Emilio Pagán to bully in late innings anymore. Yankees relievers have the lowest ERA in the majors (2.71), despite issuing their fair share of walks (9.5%, tied for 6th most in baseball).

Cleveland’s schedule will finally let up a bit after this series as they play the Tigers four times in three days, take a much-needed off-day, then play the Royals, White Sox, and Tigers again right up until the All-Star break.

Team at a glance

  • Record: 56-21 (1st in AL)
  • Runs Scored: 384 (1st in AL)
  • Run Differential: +150 (1st in AL)
  • Last 10: 6-4
  • Slash: .238/.321/.432
  • wOBA: .327 (2nd in AL)
  • wRC+: 116 (1st in AL)
  • ERA: 2.92 (1st in AL)
  • SIERA: 3.44 (1st in AL)
  • K-BB%: 18.0% (1st in AL)

Projected starters

Friday, July 1, 7:10 p.m. ET: RHP Gerrit Cole vs. RHP Aaron Civale
Saturday, July 2, 6:10 p.m. ET: LHP Nestor Cortes vs. RHP Triston McKenzie
Sunday, July 3, 1:40 p.m. ET: LHP Jordan Montgomery vs. RHP Zach Plesac



How many games will the Guardians win against the Yankees?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    (12 votes)
  • 14%
    (26 votes)
  • 48%
    (90 votes)
  • 30%
    (57 votes)
185 votes total Vote Now