The Cleveland Guardians took two of three games from the Dodgers in Los Angeles as their hot streak continues. It was a narrow 2-1 victory Friday night which seemingly put Cleveland in a very comfortable spot to take the series. It was later learned that Jose Ramirez was dealing with a thumb injury and would miss the final two games of the series. Predictably it was a Dodger bounce back Saturday, handing Cleveland a 7-1 loss. This game always felt like an automatic loss considering the team was unveiling Sandy Koufax’ statue that day. Add in the surrender lineup that started that game and it was all just a formality. All of this set the scene for Sunday.
Even without Ramirez and losing the second game in unspectacular fashion, the Guardians still had a chance to take down the Dodgers. Both teams traded runs like heavyweight fighters in a prize fight. Just when it felt like one team was going to create separation the other answered when given the opportunity. As the game progressed one thing became abundantly clear, it is going to come down who blinks first.
Luckily for Cleveland, Los Angeles blinked.
Opting to go with Craig Kimbrel in a 3-3 game in the ninth, the Dodgers committed the cardinal sin of pitching a closer in a non-save situation. This decision would come back to bit them as predictably Kimbrel did not have his best outing. Josh Naylor would follow Oscar Gonzalez’ one out walk with a double. Steven Kwan was issued an intentional walk which set the stage for Andres Gimenez. Gimenez would line a bases loaded single to drive in Gonzalez and give the Guardians a one run lead. Ernie Clement would follow with a sacrifice fly that allowed Naylor to score making it 5-3. This series events set up Emmanuel Clase well in the bottom half of the inning. Clase would face just three batters as he shut the door to secure the win.
This was the sixth straight series win for Cleveland as the team continues to build confidence. Before this run the Guardians were yet to win consecutive series this season. Being able to stack series wins on top of each other in this manner builds confidence and shows that this team is no pushover. Cleveland has won eight of their last 10 games and is 16-5 over the previous 21 which predates their series winning streak.
The Guardians find themselves one game behind of the Minnesota Twins at 34-28. Worth mentioning is that Minnesota has played six more games than Cleveland with two more losses than the Guardians. After an off day Monday it will be a three-game series with the division leading Twins which could see the American League Central have a new leader when all is said and done.