Guardians In Daunting Seven-Game Road Trip Against the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals

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Schedule analysis has always been one of my favorite parts of being a sports analyst because the schedule shows when the rivalry games, revenge games, playoff rematches, championship rematches, etc. are happening. But I also like to analyze schedules because it allows me to look at road trips, especially in the NBA, NHL and MLB, and decide whether or not they make sense. But once the season starts, I can look at impending road trips and decide that they’re super important.

That’s exactly what’s happening with the current seven-game road trip for the Cleveland Guardians that’s taking them to Oriole Park in Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD for a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles (O’s) and then to Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO for a four-game series against the American League Central division rival Kansas City Royals.

Cleveland Guardians at Baltimore Orioles

Heading into game one in Baltimore on Monday night, the Guards had a record of 49-26 while the O’s were 49-28 which only added more intrigue to not just this game but the overall series because both teams were seeking their 50th win of the season. Both teams are near the top of the AL, so this could very well be an ALCS preview although many would argue it’s too early to be making that type of statement. The Guards defeated the O’s 3-2 to improve to 50-26 which gives them the No.1 record in the AL despite the New York Yankees being 52-26, while the loss dropped the Orioles to 49-29 and two games behind the Guards and Yanks.

Last season, the O’s had the top record in the AL at 101-61. However, they were unable to turn that into a World Series as they lost in the ALDS against the Texas Rangers (who would go on to win the World Series). Meanwhile, the Guardians didn’t make the playoffs last season as they finished third in the AL Central at 76-86. As such, fans and media members were expecting the Orioles to be back near the top of the American League. Meanwhile, there seemed to be mixed feelings about the Guardians because their legendary manager Terry Francona retired and Cleveland hired Stephen Vogt to replace him and their offense is very Jose Ramirez-dependent. Heading into this difficult road trip against the O’s and the Royals, Vogt seems to know what he’s doing as Cleveland’s manager and guys like Steven Kwan, Andres Gimenez, Josh Naylor, David Fry, Will Brennan, Bryan Rocchio, and others have stepped up to balance out the offense. It reminds me of what they’ve got in Baltimore with the likes of Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, Ryan Mountcastle and Anthony Santander, amongst others.

The Guards secured a series win as they not only won game one by a score of 3-2 on Monday, June 24 and then Cleveland came back and won a “Football Game” by a score of 10-8 on Tuesday, June 25. Cleveland were unable to complete the sweep as the Orioles won the third game by a score of 4-2. The Guardians now head to KC for a four-game series against the division rival Royals.

Cleveland Guardians at Kansas City Royals

This four-game series between the Guardians and Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City marks the second meeting of the season between the division rivals. Back at Progressive Field from June 4th to June 6th, the two teams split what ended up being a two-game series rather than a three-game series due to the game being postponed on June 5th.

Entering the matchup in KC, the Royals are right in the thick of the playoff conversation. As of Wednesday, June 26th, the Royals are 44-38 and they’re nine and a half games behind the Guardians in the AL Central, but they’re firmly in the AL Wild Card conversation along with a handful of other teams: the Orioles, Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Rays and the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers.

The Royals are led by the likes of Bobby Witt Jr. (who is most likely going to the All-Star Game this season), Salvador Perez, Vinnie Pasquantino, and MJ Melendez offensively. Then on the pitching side, you’ve got Seth Lugo who is firmly in the AL Cy Young conversation with a record of 10-2, Cole Ragans with a record of 5-5 and Brady Singer who’s 4-4. Then in the bullpen, you’ve got the closer James McArthur who has 13 saves on the season.

So far the Guards have gone 2-1 on this road trip, but they now head to the midwest to take on the AL Central division rival Royals.

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