LOS ANGELES – The Bell has been ringing loudly in Cleveland so far in the second half of the season.
Josh Bell’s start to his Guardians career was not great, as he had a .230/.319/.381 slashline for the first half of the season, but since returning from the All-Star break, things are starting to look up.
From July 14th – July 23rd, Bell batted .345 with two home runs, five RBI, scored four runs, posted an on-base percentage of .424, and a slugging percentage of .586. He advanced his hitting streak to six games by going 1-for-4 with an RBI in a 5-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Monday.
Even with his hot streak, it still hasn’t been enough to get the Guardians rolling. In those nine games he’s played, they’re 4-5, and are 49-51 on the season, 3.5 games back of the Twins for the AL Central.
Cleveland Is Still In The Playoff Race
The good news for Cleveland is that they play in the worst division in baseball this season, so even though they are below .500, they are still very much alive and in the fight. The bad news is that at this point the Wild Card is very likely out of the picture, so the only way they’re playing in October is uf they finish atop of the division.
Although the Guardians aren’t doing too great, Bell’s hot streak couldn’t have come at a better time. The only way the Guardians can make a push is if their bats start to heat up, and it starts with their first baseman/designated hitter getting paid 16 and a half million a year.
Bell isn’t the only Bro who is heating up, as brothers Bo and Josh Naylor are also doing a great job of keeping the Guardians in it. Josh has a .324/.361/.765 slashline with 4 home runs since the All-Star break, while the rookie catcher Bo has homered and has three RBI in the six games he’s appeared in during the second half of the season.
And with the three Bros making sure Cleveland stays in it, it’ll only be a matter of time until the young ace Triston McKenzie will make his long-awaited return from the injured list, having only made two starts in 2023.
Cleveland just took two of three against the Phillies, who’d been pretty hot up until that point. They now have a pretty big next two weeks of baseball, as 10 of their next 13 games will be within the division, more specifically, the Royals and the White Sox, two teams who’ve had a very disappointing season so far.
Despite Monday’s loss, this stretch will be Cleveland’s golden opportunity to try and overtake the Twins for the division lead. They’re not only going to need to take care of business, but will also need Minnesota to cool down, as Byron Buxton’s Twins have been red hot winning eight of their last 10 entering Monday’s extra innings thriller against the Seattle Mariners.
Another benefit for Cleveland is that this situation is nothing new to them. They’ve made the playoffs in five of their last seven years, and bringing in a guy like Bell adds more veteran and postseason experience to a fairly young squad. If the rest of the team can follow Bell and fellow MLBbro Josh Naylor, and string together some wins, who’s to say Believeland won’t be rocking again come October.