CLEVELAND, Ohio — The playoffs are looming for the Cleveland Guardians — I still can’t believe I’m writing this because it’s been such an incredible season. Anyway, fans have questions:

Hello Terry: After the season the Guardians put together, I think any playoff success would be the icing on the cake. What do you think are their chances of reaching the World Series and winning it all? – Chris Dobson

Hello Terry. This young team has overcome so many challenges to succeed this season, but they are about to come under the pressure of the playoffs. Do you think Guardians might struggle with this new challenge, or do you think they’re up for it. –Matt Kincaid

Hi Terri: This team is the best! So much heart and they play it the right way. Can they win a playoff series? Astros? Yankees? Sailors? Does not like confrontations. But I think! -Chris Neptune.

Hi Chris, Matt and Chris: Logic says the Guardians have no chance in the playoffs. Logic also said they had no chance of making the playoffs, either as wildcards or winning the Central Division. Prior to the start of the season, ESPN gave their odds at 15%. I picked them to finish at 77-85, my lowest prediction for them probably since 2013.

The Guardians against Houston, New York, Seattle…even Tampa Bay or Toronto…none of those are very appealing. All of these teams are in the playoffs. But yes, the Guardians have a chance to reach the World Series.

Here’s why :

1. The first two rounds are short. In the first round, Houston and the Yankees have a first-round bye. The other four teams are playing better-of three. That’s right, you only need to win twice in three games. My theory has long been that the shorter the series, the greater the risk of upset.

2. The Guardians will face Toronto, Tampa Bay or Seattle. Given that the Guardians have the youngest team in MLB, they will likely be considered the longest shot of any of these American League playoff teams to reach the World Series. Keep that in mind.

3. The Guardians will have Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie and Cal Quantrill lined up to start the first three games. Cleveland also has a terrific bullpen. This gives them a chance to win that first round. We are talking about two wins in three games. Also keep this in mind.

4. In his last 12 starts, Bieber is 8-2 with a 2.05 ERA. McKenzie hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in his last 10 starts. For the season, he is 11-11 with a 2.99 ERA.

5. Quantrill is 14-5 with a 3.42 ERA this season. They only need a maximum of three starters. The pitch will be key. This gives Cleveland a chance to reach at least the next round. So does having a veteran manager in Terry Francona.

6.. The second round is the best of five – shorter than the best of seven World Series. If the Guardians win, they will face the Yankees. Fun Fact: The Yankees haven’t been to the World Series since… 2009. If they survive the second round, it’s the ALCS – a best-of-seven.

7. A bit of history: The Tribe 2016 was without starters Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar heading into the playoffs. In the second round, they lost Trevor Bauer. They were down to Corey Kluber and Josh Tomlin and found a way to reach Game 7 of the World Series before losing to the Cubs.

8. In 2017, Cleveland looked busy. They had a 22-game winning streak. They had a 102-60 regular season record. They won the first two best-of-five first-round games against the Yankees, then lost the next three. Season in the first round. Point? The 2017 team appeared in much better shape than 2016 for the playoffs. But that did not work. So who really knows?

Cleveland Guardians players celebrate winning American League Central.PA

Hi Terri: The Guardians are having a historic season as baseball’s youngest team and the national media still isn’t covering them. Outside of local media, you don’t see anything about them. Which give? – Beth Geraci.

Hi Beth: That’s why you need us at Plain Dealer and cleveland.com. The rest of the national media doesn’t see Guardians as a big story, but we do. It’s a young team in a small baseball market with no big names. Yes, they have Jose Ramirez. As I wrote some time ago, he’s a secret superstar. That’s a big part of why he signed a seven-year contract extension to stay in Cleveland. He doesn’t want glitter.

This Guardians team mirrors Cleveland. He was written off and went on to become one of baseball’s biggest surprises due to his old-school style of baseball being played by a young roster. Just take advantage of these guys and let the national media do what they do. They have no impact on how your favorite team plays.

Hi Terri: What is your prediction for Amed Rosario’s future in Cleveland? It is easy to root and has become a fan favorite. Swap this offseason, swap during or after next season, or extend it with a new contract? I really like this kid! –Tim Corbett

Hi Terri: Rosario has become a good shortstop and a great hitter and I believe a fan favorite by always hustling. Like all of our players, they are following Jose’s leadership – keep going and keep winning. -Don Kendrick

Hi Tim & Don: I have the Guardians game on the radio while I answer these questions. Guardians Radio Voice Tom Hamilton and I have talked about Rosario often, we both love his hustle, attitude and punching ability.

During the show, Hamilton praised how the Guardians run hard on every ground ball and how that prevents the team from playing doubles: “They run harder than any other team and it starts with their best player. – Jose Ramirez. But right behind him is Amed Rosario. They set an example for the rest of the team.

I agree. I also agree that Rosario has improved his defense at shortstop. In his final three 162-game seasons, Rosario is a .284 (.735 OPS) hitter, average of 12 HR and 67 RBI. In his two seasons with the Guardians, he’s 30 of 34 in stolen bases.

Rosario leads the American League in triples and hits in 2022! It’s the hustle and bustle.

The Guardians are full of shortstop prospects. They have Gabriel Arias now with the team. Among the minors, the rising star is Brayan Rocchio, who split the season between Class AA and AAA, .257 stick (.755 OPS) with 18 HR and 64 RBI. He is only 21 years old.

Some fans may want to move Andres Gimenez short, his natural position. But he became an All-Star second baseman who deserves a Gold Glove. Why change jobs now?

Rosario has another year under the control of the team. He is eligible for arbitration. His salary for 2022 is $4.9 million. I wonder if they could sign him to a two- or three-year deal worth around $10 million a year? An extension must be explored.

TWO OF THE BEST

Manager Terry Francona and Jose Ramirez have made Cleveland one of baseball’s biggest surprises in 2022.
PA

Hi Terri: Terry Francona manager of the year! – Bill Enders.

Hey Bill: Yes! But I wonder if the votes will go to Brandon Hyde, who took Baltimore from a 52-110 record to 80-76 going into the weekend. The Guardians have a chance of winning 90 games… that’s amazing and shouldn’t be ignored by Manager of the Year voters.

HEAR ME TALK: I will talk to the Uniontown Library on October 4 at 6:30 p.m., I’ll also be answering questions, meeting fans, and signing books. It’s free!

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