Kwan's RBI triple extends Guardians' lead (0:47)

Steven Kwan's triple gave the Guardians a 3-1 lead in the fifth. There is a time and a place for this.

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Terry Francona called for a meeting with Jose Ramirez on the first day of training. A conversation between a manager and his third baseman in March of this year would set the tone for the surprising success of the youngest team in baseball -- a Cleveland Guardians club that is on the verge of winning the American League Central.

Ramirez was asked by Francona to play hard and with passion in order to make the playoffs.

"I told him, 'This is how we have to play, everyone follows your lead,'" Francona said while sitting in the visitor's bench at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. I told them that I couldn't ask a bunch of young guys to do it if they didn't do it.

Ramirez was already known by his teammates to play with his hair on fire and they followed suit, specializing in a brand of baseball built around contact and playing defense that is atypical in 2022.

The average age of the players has been close to historic. The youngest team in the wild-card era is on the verge of making the playoffs and winning a division for the first time.

Francona doesn't know if it's possible to be competitive at an older age.

Cleveland's brass knew before the season started that it would be full of opportunity for a group of talented young players.

The president of baseball operations said that they made some deliberate choices to give some of the young players opportunities to contribute. A lot of them have made a difference.

Francona says that no one has a crystal ball and it came together quickly. Maybe the star player of the show.

Ramirez spoke through the team interpreter. They won a lot in the minor league. They have performed well this year.

Three players who have become major contributors at a young age are second baseman Andres Gimenez, third baseman Amed Rosario and fourth baseman Steven Kwan.

The two infielders came to Cleveland together in a big trade for Francisco Lindor. A lineup that ranks 29th in home runs but has also struck out less times than any other team in the majors has been set up by the leadoff man.

It's refreshing to see that type of ball. The beginning of it is with TitoFrancona. We had to play the game the right way if we wanted to have a chance. We've been paying attention.

Francona was called the GOAT for his style of management. One of the best qualities of the 63-year-old veteran manager is his ability to adapt a team to maximize its strengths and minimize its weaknesses.

The young baseball players have learned how to win. Francona prodded when the time was right to do it. A time after a victory over Minnesota.

He usually doesn't call me into his office, but that's what he did this time. He pulled up a video that showed a runner on first and I hit a single to right. The runner goes first to third and the right fielder catches the ball.

He wants to know why I didn't take second baseman. I told him that I hadn't had a hit in awhile, and I was happy to be there. That's not what we're about. We will do it the right way if we do this.

It was with me.

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Cleveland's clubhouse has been filled with lively celebrations fueled by a handful of dramatic victories, including several come-from-behind wins. Cleveland's season was defined by an early May game in which the Guardians scored six runs in the ninth to tie the game and then added three more in the 11th to win. It proved to the youth in Cleveland that they could compete with the reigning division winner after Josh Naylor hit two home runs.

The kind of victories that started to pile up were a 15-inning win over Minnesota on Saturday and another 11-inning win on Tuesday. During the entire season, the Guardians beat up their division rivals, going 24-13 against them and 12-4 in overtime.

"Everyone is saying that we're not supposed to be doing this," said starterShane. Maybe that was the story that was coming in. Not right now. It's a different brand of baseball and we're enjoying playing it.

When Ramirez's name came up, the teen smiled and nodded. The five-tool player is the subject of many conversations in the club.

The way he plays the game is something that I like about him. It's difficult to say something. For our star to play the way he does, with that infectious energy, and putting his body on the line, with the intent to win, he really sets the tone.

Another way Ramirez epitomizes the unique brand of baseball is by being a first to third machine. The Cleveland Indians ran them out of contention for the division title in their just completed series.

When you have so many young guys watching him, they think, "Why can't I do that?" The person said, "Beiber said."

They can and they have done that. The team went from first to third on a single. They're poised for an October run because of it. The Indians have five players with 15 or more stolen bases, the most in baseball and the most since 1919.

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Francona said that they don't back down from challenges. They try to do everything we've tried.

Shaw thinks the foundation was set a long time ago when Cleveland was in its last throes of contention. There was a World Series appearance in 2016 Several current players were in the organization at the time and are on the verge of playing in the playoffs.

The entire run has been led by Tito. Everyone was watching how it was done. It's occurring again.