With an 8-4 win, the Guardians maintained their series unbeaten streak post-All-Star Break.
The Guardians were down early before exploding for a six-run eighth inning.
And Emmanuel Clase came in in the ninth and struck out two Tigers en route to the win.
It was a good sign from the Guardians, who haven’t always shown the offensive resiliency needed to stay in games late.
And the club will need every ounce of resiliency over the next few weeks as Cleveland faces arguably its most brutal post-All-Star stretch.
Big Competition, Familiar Faces
The Guardians’ next four opponents — the White Sox, Mariners, Padres, and Orioles — are all .500 or better.
Further, three of those teams (sorry Baltimore) are fighting for a postseason berth through the Wild Card or division title.
San Diego has one of the fiercest offenses out there, even without their recently suspended star Fernando Tatis.
The club traded for Josh Hader, Juan Soto, and David Bell at the trade deadline and already featured studs in Manny Machado and Joe Musgrove.
One name will likely be a familiar one to Cleveland: Mike Clevinger.
The former Guardians pitcher will likely face off against his former team during the series.
The Mariners share a trait all-too-familiar to the Guardians: youth.
Seattle has the seventh-youngest squad this season, headlined by future stars Julio Rodriguez, J.P. Crawford, and Jesse Winker.
Some opposing fans took to Twitter last week and said that we are the "most annoying team" to play because we put the ball in play.
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) August 18, 2022
The club is also battling to end the league’s longest playoff drought — 20 years.
Seattle is in the driver’s seat of a Wild Card spot, but well behind the Houston Astros in the AL West.
And then there are the White Sox.
The Chicago ball club has been snapping at Cleveland’s heels for much of the season.
Heading into this series, the Sox are just two games behind the Guardians in the AL Central.
Cleveland simply cannot afford to lose ground now.
The Guardians, for their part, will hope the two recent losses to the Tigers won’t dampen their momentum.
Ten days ago, the club was in the midst of a season-high six-game win streak, which included successes against the Astros and Blue Jays.
Things were looking sunny for the Guardians, all they needed to do was take care of business against the Tigers.
Easier said than done.
In 19 meetings, the Guardians are 10-9 against Detroit.
It’s hardly the sign of a team destined for greatness that they stumble against such inferior competition.
The Guardians are collectively batting .265 over their last three games, seventh-best in the pros.
— Matt Bretz (@MattB_WOF) August 18, 2022
And while the Guardians pitching cooled during the Tigers series (collective 15 runs scored in the last three games), the arms were red hot recently.
The club gave up just four runs to the Blue Jays over three games and twice held the Astros to one run or less.
To ensure they stay atop the AL Central, the club needs to do everything possible to rediscover that form.
It’s the most crucial stretch of the season’s most crucial stretch.