Cleveland nearly won the World Series but fell short in an epic series against the Cubs. The core stays in place, but the American League has some mountains to climb over. Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez have blossomed into excellent players and should stay with Cleveland for some time. Michael Brantley has been injured most of the last few years but is an underrated part of this roster when healthy. Having veterans like Yonder Alonso, Edwin Encarnacion, and Jason Kipnis, who can still play solid ball, brings an added dynamic to this roster. With a few platoon bats like Lonnie Chisenhall, Rajai Davis, and Brandon Guyer, they can match up well with those whoever is pitching against them. The Guardians rotation is considered one of the best in the business, and it starts with Corey Kluber, but Trevor Bauer has improved at a huge rate from prior seasons.
The top of the AL Central continues to have the Guardians name written all over it. The team has reigned supreme within this division for the past few seasons. Their success comes at no shock to the competition when you comb up and down their lineup. Their infield and outfield rotations are both deep and solidified at key positions. They also possess one of the deepest, most successful rotations in the league. There are many areas where this team excels, lending to a positive roster outlook year in and year out.
The major hit the team faced this season was losing Carlos Santana to Philadelphia. Carlos was grandfathered through the Guardians farm system, reaching high levels of consistent play at the first base position. He came up through the ranks as a catching prospect, marking him as a versatile talent that rarely comes to the surface at the professional level. To account for this loss, the team changed some of the player roles, switching Yonder Alonso to the everyday player at 1st. This also made room for the addition of Melky Cabrera. The team beefed and backed their roster with a loss, allowing them to showcase the same strength and fortitude we have come to associate them with.
Injuries to fielders Lonnie Chisenhall, Tyler Naquin, and Edwin Encarnacion opened new doors for opportunity. The first two mentions reside in the outfield, switching Cabrera's role from contributor to consistent playing time. This also allowed the team the opportunity to flash one of their younger talents in Greg Allen. Allen is a defensive-minded player, but his plate presence has come at a luxury to the team. Their mold is now trending nicely into the next-man-up system. Regaining the health of these mentioned contributors and everyday players is something the team will need to grip prior to the post-season. These names were all instrumental pieces that saw the team reach the World Series just a few seasons ago.
The starting rotation is touted as one of the best across all of baseball. Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco headline this group of individuals. Each of these two players has improved upon their ERA and walk counts from season to season. Getting out of the gate strong proved difficult for this paring, but both were able to find their form and stride once the divisional series started to hit. This lineup goes deeper with Trevor Bauer, Danny Salazar, Mike Clevinger, and countless others. The team is afforded the luxury of starters who have abided to fill-in roles. A bulk of their rotation has spent time to and from the 10-day DL, which is something to keep the focus on heading to the post-season. Their fill-in players have shined, which has left many to question where the holes on this team are if any.
The Cleveland Guardians – One of Baseball’s Most Beloved Teams
Cleveland baseball fans have a deep affinity for their beloved baseball team. The Guardians have experienced periods of success, blended with seasons filled with disappointment. As Ohio sports betting prepares to open, Tribe fans will be excited to have the opportunity to bet on their hometown team. As we look back at Cleveland Guardians' history and some of the Tribe's most memorable seasons, it will prove when betting on the Guardians was a winning proposition.
Cleveland Guardians History
The Guardians' Major League Baseball franchise actually got its start as a minor league club. Beginning in 1894, the Grand Rapids, Michigan Rustlers played in the old Western League. In 1900, the team moved to Cleveland was renamed the Cleveland Lake Shores. One year after moving to Cleveland, the Western League was changed to the American League and pronounced itself a competing professional baseball league. For one season, Cleveland was called the Bluebirds. The team members didn't like the name.
During the 1902 season, players referred to themselves as the Cleveland Broncos, but this name never became popular with fans. Cleveland remained the Bluebirds until a high-profile player was traded to try to help the floundering baseball franchise. Napoleon "Nap" Lajoie brought name and talent to Cleveland. He helped fill the stands, even if the team didn't experience much success. When Lajoie was named team captain, the team name was changed as well.
For the next decade, Cleveland's professional baseball team was called the Napoleons, or Naps. Cleveland was so bad for most of the decade; they were referred to as the Napkins. The Naps finished in dead last in 1914 and 1915. Clubhouse discourse motivated Cleveland to sell Lajoie back to the Philadelphia A's and with the departure of their team captain came a name change. In 1915, they became the Cleveland Guardians.
Lajoie actually left Cleveland as a player, after spending 4 seasons as the Guardians' player/coach. There have been 46 managers in the Guardians' long history. To drive up attendance, Cleveland's owners have tried to hire high-profile former players as managers. Great players such as Frank Robinson and Walter Johnson had brief tenures as the Guardians' skipper. Oddly enough, both of these great baseball talents last roughly the same number of seasons as Cleveland's head coach.
Johnson won 180 games as the Cleveland manager between 1933 and 1935, and Robinson posted 186 victories as player/coach during the 1975-77 seasons. Before Johnson and Robinson got their chances to manage the Tribe, Cleveland hired a superstar player to both play and manage the club. Baseball history buffs are keenly aware of one player who exited Boston and then became a baseball icon. However, before Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees, Tris Speaker was traded away to the Cleveland Guardians.
The gifted centerfielder would become the head coach in 1919. Speaker would win 617 games as manager of the Guardians, including guiding the team to its first World Series title in 1920. The Guardians would falter the following season and begin a 28-year tumble into ineptitude. Guardians fans would not have wanted to open the DraftKings Ohio sportsbook to make a smart bet until 1948. Let's look at a few of the most memorable seasons the Cleveland Guardians have experienced, including years when a preseason projection on the FanDuel Ohio sportsbook line would have been visionary.
Cleveland Guardians Most Memorable Seasons
No Guardians could discount the special feeling of Cleveland's first World Series title in 1920. The Guardians won 98 games and dedicated the season to their former shortstop, Ray Chapman. Chapman tragically died when he was hit in the head by a pitch. Cleveland's first title also had the first World Series triple play and first World Series grand slam. The Guardians bested the Brooklyn Robins five games to two in a best-of-nine series. Cleveland would win 94 games the following season, but fail to make the playoffs.
The next 28 years would be a rollercoaster ride for Tribe fans. While the Guardians would have 16 winning seasons, they would not come close to bringing home another world title. That all changed in 1948. Cleveland won 97 games that season, but that still wasn't enough to secure the American League Pennant. If sports betting had been legal, taking Cleveland to beat the Boston Red Sox on the BetMGM Ohio sportsbook would have been a winner.
Cleveland would go on to play the second Boston team in the World Series, the Braves, and they brought home Cleveland's second World Series crown 4 games to 2. The Guardians would continue to a tremendous run of success, winning over 90 games four out of the next five seasons. One of the greatest regular seasons in Tribe history ended in bitter disappointment. The 1954 Guardians were odds-on favorites to win the World Series. They thrilled over one million home fans during the season, winning 111 games.
However, the Willie Mays-led New York Giants swept Cleveland in the World Series. When Mays raced back in centerfield at the Polo Grounds to chase down a Vic Wertz fly ball, it seemed like Cleveland could never gain any momentum. Mays' over-the-shoulder catch is still tabbed one of the greatest catches of all-time. Cleveland would hover around the .500 mark for the next 14 seasons. However, they could never seem to perform at a level consistent enough to challenge for the title.
With the start of the 1969 season, one with the new six-division format, there was a lot of hope for success in Cleveland. The Tribe won 86 games in 1968 and was considered a title-contending team. However, Cleveland only managed 62 victories to finish an abysmal 46½ games out of first place. Two years later, Cleveland would only win 60 games, again finishing dead last in the American League East.
The 1970s were unkind to Guardians' fans. Cleveland finished in last place in the East Division four times during the decade. The 70s produced only two winning records for the Tribe. Ironically, the 1980s would get even worse. Cleveland only finished above .500 once and lost over 100 games in two seasons. In 1991, the franchise appeared to hit rock-bottom. Cleveland finished 57-105, eight games worse than the next poorest record of the Houston Astros.
After matching 76 win losing seasons, things began to change in 1994. Realignment created a shift in divisions, and Cleveland was moved out of the challenging AL East and into the Central Division. The Guardians finished in second place in 1994, the season without an MLB playoff. The next year would begin a streak of five straight playoff appearances and two trips to the World Series. The first World Series appearance would follow another 100 win regular season.
In 1997, Cleveland was a good team, but not the favorite to even win the American League Pennant. However, 1997 would be a ride every Indian fan at the time will always remember. The Guardians only won 86 games in 97, but won both American League playoff series to reach the Fall Classic.
They came into the World Series as proverbial favorites over the upstart, wildcard Florida Marlins. Most felt Cleveland's second World Series appearance since 1954 would break a dreary streak of disappointment. This would turn out to be one of the harshest disappointments in Cleveland baseball history. The Guardians had multiple rallies throughout the game, but could only manage a one-run lead at 2 to 1 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Cleveland needed three outs from their talented closer, José Mesa. The Marlins would push runners around the bases and tied the game on a sacrifice fly. With the bases jammed full of Marlins and two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning, a line drive up the middle ended the Guardians' hopes. The 1997 Cleveland Guardians' season was one of the club's most memorable for good and bad reasons. It would be as close as the team would get to ending its title drought until 2016. Again, Cleveland would make their way through the American League playoffs to win a trip to the World Series.
Almost as heart-wrenching as the 1997 loss was, Cleveland fans had their hopes decimated by an extra-inning game-seven loss. This time it was Cleveland who came back to push the game into extra frames, but the ultimate result was the same. The Chicago Cubs pushed two runs across in the top of the tenth and then held off a Cleveland comeback to win the title. Some still call it the greatest game seven in World Series history. Cleveland has had a number of the greatest in their long history.
The Guardians have put some of the greatest players in the game on the field and had some of the greatest seasons. However, beginning with "the catch" in 1954, Cleveland Guardians' fans have also experienced some of the greatest disappointments in Major League Baseball history.