How do the Guards fare in the race for the Central AL title? Hi Hoynsie!

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Hi Hoynsie, Now that the Guards are neck-and-neck with the Twins and White Sox, are there factors that favor a team, like schedule strength or weakness, injuries, etc.? — Jim Mullen, Bay People.

Hi Jim: The White Sox and Twins have dealt with more key injuries than the A’s. Right now, the White Sox are without All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson (left middle finger), while the Twins are without outfielder Alex Kirilloff (right wrist).

Here’s how Fangraphs.com rates the strength of the Guardians, Twins and White Sox schedule for the rest of the season: G’s .498, Twins .500 and White Sox .475. Fangraphs, as of Friday night, give the Guardians a 59.4% chance of making the postseason, followed by the Twins at 54.4% and the White Sox at 36.3%.

As for winning the AL Central, the Gs are at 42.9%, the Twins are at 36.9% and the White Sox are at 20.3%.

Hi Hoynsie, When a player has trouble hitting, like Myles Straw, don’t hitting coaches spend more time with him? This has been going on for a while. -Bev B., Cleveland.

Hi Bev, The Guardians have a team of three hitting coaches and spend time with all the hitters on the roster, especially the ones who are down. Straw has had a tough season to be sure.

He started hitting .291 in April, but has been erratic ever since. He hit .178 in May and .149 in June. He recovered to hit .278 in July, but returned to the tank in August, hitting .093 (5-for-53).

Last season, Straw hit .285 (68-for-239) from the top spot after Cleveland acquired him from Houston. The Guardians were so impressed that he signed him to a five-year extension. Perhaps you are weighing trying to justify the extension. This is a game of humility, but at least Straw is still playing well in center field.

Hi Hoynsie, In the recent series with Detroit it looked like the players were tired after playing 27 games in 26 days. With the younger roster, is there a concern that young players will hit a wall given that it’s more games than they will have played in their professional career?— Gene La Suer, Des Moines, Iowa.

hi gene: Fatigue is a real concern, but not as much as in the past when the Class AAA season ended in the first week of September. In 2021, the Triple-A season was extended into October due to the pandemic. This year, Triple-A’s schedule has been increased from 144 to 150 games and will run through Sept. 20.

The new schedule allows minor leaguers to get used to the longer season they would experience in the big leagues. It also gives major league teams a place to rehab injured players and a pool of game-ready players to remember in the final weeks of the season.

Hi Hoynsie, Will there be expanded lists in September? If so, who could the Guardians bring? — Dave Brothers, Canton.

Hi Dave: Rosters can be expanded from 26 to 28 players on September 1, so don’t expect too many reinforcements. Before the 2020 season, teams could promote as many players from their 40-man roster as they wanted.

Hi Hoynsie, Down the stretch, who is the bigger threat to The Guardian’s chances at the Central: Minnesota, the White Sox or themselves? — Charles, Orlando.

Hi Carl, As the comic book character Pogo once said: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” All the Guardians have to do is tend to their own garden.

Hi Hoynsie, Looking at the score chart for the Guardians’ 8-4 win over Detroit on Wednesday, I see that the runs they scored in that weird eighth inning were scored as earned. Since they all happened after a wild pitch in the third strikeout, why are they earned runs? –Jeff Spiess.

Hi Jeff: If Luke Maile had reached base first on a pass instead of a wild pitch, the runs would not have been deserved. A wild pitch, according to the rulebook, is considered a pitcher’s foul only and will contribute to an earned run just like a walk or a balk.

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