MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Cleveland Guardians are headed home for a one-of-a-kind opener that's sure to be out of this world.

They got a bonus day of rest before the big game, too, after the series finale on Sunday against the Minnesota Twins was postponed by rain.

The Guardians were preparing to arrive at Progressive Field well ahead of time on Monday. Their 2024 debut at home, starting a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox, would normally be a momentous day. But it's a really big deal this year because of the total solar eclipse for which Cleveland will be a prime viewing area.

“Everything’s going to be buzzing,” manager Stephen Vogt said.

The Guardians-Twins game will become part of a split doubleheader at 1:10 p.m. on Aug. 9 before the originally scheduled 7:10 p.m. game. That will now be a four-game series.

“We wanted to keep playing, but any day you can get these guys off their feet and turn their minds off for a day, it’s beneficial,” Vogt said outside the visitor clubhouse at Target Field after the announcement came about three hours prior to the scheduled first pitch with rain forecast for most of the afternoon and yet more likely to fall at night.

The Guardians (7-2) took a half-game lead on the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central into Sunday.

Both the Guardians and the Twins simply pushed their pitching rotation back by one day, so Triston McKenzie will start for Cleveland against the White Sox, followed by Logan Allen and Tanner Bibee.

For now, the Guardians can feel good about being the early leader in the AL Central after their pitchers dominated the defending division champion Twins. They led a 3-1 victory on Saturday and a 4-2 decision on Friday, allowing just nine hits with 29 strikeouts over the two games. Those were especially encouraging performances in light of the news that ace starting pitcher Shane Bieber will soon have season-ending Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

The Twins (3-4) host the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Shohei Ohtani show for a three-game series starting on Monday night. They'll start Bailey Ober, followed by Louie Varland and Chris Paddack.

While Ohtani and the well-decorated Dodgers will present a daunting opponent, the series will have a deeper meaning for Varland. His older brother, Gus Varland, is a reliever for the Dodgers who was recalled from Triple-A on Saturday just in time to join the trip to his home state.

The Varland brothers played at Concordia University in St. Paul via North St. Paul High School, just a few miles east of Target Field, and dozens of relatives and friends will be at the ballpark to watch them play on the same field for the first time in the major leagues.

“They’re absolutely loving it. We might have hundreds of people here," the younger Varland said on Sunday. "It’s going to be a party.”


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