What we learned from Vogt’s first series at helm

12:52 AM UTC

OAKLAND — This wasn’t the way the Guardians wanted to end their strong opening series at the Coliseum.

After three comfortable victories, Cleveland found itself in a three-run deficit through seven innings on Sunday. But after the offense chipped away and managed to knot the score heading into the ninth, it seemed as though fate was going to work in the Guardians’ favor yet again. That lasted until the bottom of the ninth, when Scott Barlow loaded the bases with no outs and Eli Morgan came in to throw four straight balls that handed the Guardians a 4-3 loss to the A’s.

A fourth consecutive victory was in sight. It would’ve been the first time Cleveland started a season 4-0 since 1998. Instead, it slipped away. But that didn’t wash away the tone that this lineup set over the previous three games. Here are three takeaways from the Guardians’ opening weekend.

Vogt isn’t afraid to mix things upAs much as we’re trying to learn about this roster, we also are trying to figure out who Stephen Vogt will be as a manager. So far, it’s been clear that Vogt likes to play aggressively and isn’t afraid to take chances.

Vogt doesn’t like the word “platoon,” but the Guardians have certainly shifted things around based on who is on the rubber. On Opening Day against a lefty, Andrés Giménez hit seventh. The next night against a righty, he hit second. Moves like this could happen all season long when Vogt believes it’ll best be effective.

It became abundantly clear that Vogt wasn’t afraid to take chances when he put on a safety squeeze in a tie game with no outs and runners on first and third in the top of the ninth inning on Sunday with Gabriel Arias at the plate. When Arias didn’t get the bunt down, Bo Naylor was caught too far off third and was picked off, squashing any momentum that had been trending in Cleveland’s favor. It didn’t pay off, but we saw the aggressive nature on full display.

“It’s one of those things that you think it’s the right play at the time. When it works, it works. When it doesn’t, you’re wrong,” Vogt said. “It was an unfortunate break for us”

The offense has lifeThe biggest question coming into 2024 was whether the bats would be able to produce enough runs to win. In Games 1, 2 and 3, that definitely wasn’t the concern.

The Guardians’ +19 run differential in the first three contests led the Majors and was the best in franchise history in that span. Only three other times in club history had they scored at least six runs in each of the first three contests (1998, 1923, 1922).

Not only did the top of the order do its share, but guys like David Fry, Tyler Freeman and Austin Hedges were part of the action, too. We’ve seen it’s possible for this lineup to pick up steam. Now, we have to wait to see how consistent or sustainable it will be for the next 158 games.

There are some 2022 vibesThe energy is back in the clubhouse that went missing last year. It’s evident in their postgame win celebration with their new WWE Guardians belt. The camaraderie in the clubhouse played a huge role in why such a young roster in ‘22 made it to the second round of the playoffs. That squad had such a scrappiness to it, emphasizing the importance of moving up the extra 90 feet on the bases.

In the first three games, Cleveland racked up an MLB-best eight steals, each swiped by a different player. And just like ‘22, the Guardians proved on Sunday that they’re never out of a contest after erasing a three-run deficit in the eighth inning.

The chip on the shoulder is back. The never-say-die attitude seems to be prevalent. The energy is bursting out of the clubhouse. Now, we wait to see what it will all equate to.

“No loss feels good and this one certainly doesn’t,” Vogt said. “But really, really proud of the way the guys played this series coming out of Spring Training, and we’re excited to get to Seattle.”