Less than two weeks into June, things are finally looking sunny for the Guardians.
In a closeout game four against the Athletics on Sunday, Cleveland snagged a familiar 6-3 win.
Now, the Guardians are heading on a long road trip.
The nine-game stint will see Cleveland face off against the Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Minnesota Twins.
The Rockies should be a winnable opponent for Cleveland.
And keeping the momentum going from the Athletics and Rangers series will be paramount, considering Cleveland’s successive opponents.
The Dodgers are once again the toast of the National League.
After the Mets, Los Angeles has the best record in the entire NL, staving off challenges within a strong division that features the San Diego Giants and San Francisco Padres.
But the biggest prize down the stretch will come against the Twins.
So far this season, Cleveland’s been unable to pierce Minnesota’s armor.
The Guardians dropped two games in the only series this season against the Twins.
But that was also back in early May when Cleveland couldn’t get a win against Cincinnati and Detroit.
Thankfully, the calendar’s flipped, and things are a little bit different now.
Cleveland’s gone 8-4 this month, crucial to their keeping pace in the AL Central.
For a moment in May, it looked like the division race might get too far out of reach, with the Guardians constantly losing ground against not just the Twins, but the Chicago White Sox as well.
Now, Cleveland stands three games out of first and a full three games clear of Chicago for second place.
And while it’s impossible to pin the teams’ successes on just one (or in this case, two) players, a few deserve recognition.
Here are two standout Guardians players so far in June:
1. Andrés Giménez
The most deserving name on this list is Giménez’s.
The second baseman/shortstop has been able to provide a hitting pop when the team needed it most.
In May, Giménez slashed a solid .269/.449/.754.
Andrés Giménez is a young star and we need to start talking about that more.#ForTheLand pic.twitter.com/EgAIGKr5nW
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) June 5, 2022
That’s respectable, but only slightly above average.
In June, it’s been a different story.
Through nine games so far, Giménez is slashing .333/.633/1.045.
And those numbers are anything but average.
On more than one occasion, Giménez provided a key hit or quality appearance that significantly impacted the game.
The sudden offensive boon has been a revelation for Cleveland.
But it’s also come at a time when another big hitter, Franmil Reyes, has been relegated to the bench with an injury.
That’s allowed Giménez (and others) to play more consistently in positions that they succeed in.
Another reason to love Giménez’s play is his age.
Along with Josh Naylor and Steven Kwan, Giménez could form an excellent young core in Cleveland.
For now, though, he should just revel in his play so far this month.
2. Cal Quantrill
Cleveland’s strength this season has not generally come on the mound.
It’s an uncharacteristic trait from Cleveland, which has a long legacy of strong play on the mound.
But in June, Cal Quantrill is giving fans a little taste of the past.
Quantrill is a perfect 2-0 in June, with a solid ERA of 2.77.
I believe in Cal Quantrill so dependable rolls out of bed and give you 6 innings I love his fire and competitiveness one of my favorite players to watch #ForTheLand
— Chuck 22 (@Chuck63618910) June 12, 2022
Quantrill has been able to drop his ERA by almost an entire run since last month when his May ERA sat around 3.69.
He’s also holding opposing batters to a .240 average in June, equally solid.
If Quantrill can keep playing this well, he’ll be instrumental to the team’s success down the stretch.
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