CLEVELAND (WJW) – The Cleveland Guardians are ramping up for the opening pitch.
The championship series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Progressive Field is less than 24 hours away. Several team players took some time out from preparation – and dreams – of a World Series game to speak with the media.
Players expressed a brotherhood among the team, admit they expect some tough matchups in this best-of-three series, but believe it’s the small plays that have helped their team thrive thus far.
“We bunt, I don’t know how many times I see other teams bunt, sac flys are a big thing, first and thirds are really big. It’s the small details that really work to pay off as opposed to waiting for that homerun,” said Outfielder Steven Kwan.
“We don’t have the ability to kind of usually hit a three-run homer and maybe play a sloppy game and win,” said Manager Terry Francona. “I wish we did hit some more three-run homers but we have what we have so rather than make excuses, find a way to win.”
The team is made up of several younger players, but even veteran players are expressing a brotherhood.
“Here with all these young guys have a little more energy than I do, and I consider myself a very energetic player,” said Third Basemen and veteran player, José Ramírez. “So it’s always energizing to play alongside them it makes a big difference.”
“I think just being on the same page with each other all of the time. And if things go wrong it not getting on each other’s backs, it picking each other up and showing love and support towards each other,” said First Baseman Josh Naylor. “Always just, you know, trying to get the best out of everyone in the right way.”
The first game in the series against the Tampa Bay Rays is Friday at noon — and the Guardians are ready.
“Not lose sight of how special of an opportunity this is to just be out there representing the city and to take advantage of an opportunity that we’ve worked extremely hard for,” said starting pitcher Shane Bieber. “More than anything we just want to represent the city of Cleveland and do it well.”