How do Guards rate in AL Central title race? Hey, Hoynsie

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Hey, Hoynsie: Now that Guards are neck and neck with the Twins and White Sox are there factors that favor any one team such a strength or weakness of schedule, injuries, etc.? — Jim Mullen, Bay Village.

Hey, Jim: The White Sox and Twins have dealt with more key injuries than the G’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 Guardians, Twins and White Sox’s strength of schedule for the rest of the season: G’s .498, Twins .500 and White Sox .475. Fangraphs, through Friday night, gives the Guardians a 59.4% chance of making the postseason followed by the Twins at 54.4% and White Sox at 36.3%.

As for winning the AL Central, the G’s come in at 42.9%, the Twins at 36.9% and the White Sox at 20.3%.

Hey Hoynsie: When a player is struggling with hitting, like Myles Straw, don’t the batting coaches spend extra time with them? This has been going on for a while. – Bev B., Cleveland.

Hey, Bev: The Guardians have a team of three hitting coaches and they spend time with all the hitters on the roster, especially the ones in a funk. Straw has had a tough season to be sure.

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

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

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

Hey, 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 stretched into October because of the pandemic. This year the Triple-A schedule was increased from 144 to 150 games and runs through Sept. 20.

The new schedule lets minor league players get used to the longer season they’d experience in the big leagues. It also gives big league teams a place to rehab injured players and a pool of game-ready players to recall in the last weeks of the season.

Hey, Hoynsie: Will there be expanded rosters in September? If so, who might the Guardians bring up? — Dave Brothers, Canton.

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

Hey, Hoynsie: Coming down the stretch, who is the bigger threat to the Guardian’s chances in the Central — Minnesota, the White Sox or themselves? — Carl, Orlando.

Hey 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 mind their own garden.

Hey, Hoynsie: Looking at the box score for the Guardians’ 8-4 win over Detroit on Wednesday, I saw that the runs they scored in that bizarre eighth inning were scored as earned. Since they all occurred after a wild pitch on the third strikeout, why are they earning runs? — Jeff Spiess.

Hey Jeff: If Luke Maile had reached first on a passed ball instead of a wild pitch, the runs would have been unearned. A wild pitch, according to the rulebook, is regarded solely as the pitcher’s fault and shall contribute to an earned run just as a base on balls or a balk.

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