Guardians (21-28) vs. Cardinals (22-29) Game Preview | FRI 7:10 PM. EST. 5/26

May 26, 2023

Andy Billman

Start of 3-Game Home Series.

3 Things Preview Guardians vs. St. Louis Cardinals:

1 – In Bieber we trust.  

The Cleveland Guardians need a big start from their ace Shane Bieber.  Bieber had a complete game loss in his last start going eight strong only giving up two runs.  If the Guardians continue to lose, a growing storyline will be the trade possibility with Bieber, who will be sought after by several clubs.  Hopefully, the Guardians get a win and that storyline goes away for the moment. 

2 – Two lefties 

The Cardinals will start two lefties in this series, one tonight with Matthew Liberatore and on Sunday St. Louis will have Jordan Montgomery.  The Guards have struggled against lefty starters, hopefully, that improves this weekend. 

3 – Gabriel Arias 

Gabriel Arias has appeared in seven straight games and started in six.  In that stretch, Arias has 19 at-bats with 6 hits, 3 walks, 2 home runs, and 3 RBIs.  Arias has probably earned the right to more playing time and will more than likely get it in this series with two lefties on the bump for the Cardinals. 

Guardians Notes

The Cleveland Guardians find themselves ranked 28th or lower in four significant hitting categories. Their team batting average stands at a lackluster .225, placing them 28th, and their on-base percentage of .297 drops them even further to 29th. In terms of slugging percentage, the Guardians rank dead last, coming in at .340, and their runs-scored tally of 169 also puts them in the 30th and final spot. Among the team, Josh Naylor leads in home runs with seven, closely followed by Jose Ramirez with six. Naylor also leads in RBI with 32, while Ramirez secures the second position with 25. The only other player on the Cleveland roster with over 20 RBIs is Josh Bell, who sits at 21. In the span of 49 games, the team has managed to hit 77 doubles and 10 triples, but disappointingly only 30 home runs.

Guards Stats and Insights


  • When Bieber starts, his team is 3-5-0 against the spread this season.
  • The right-hander gave up two earned runs and allowed seven hits in eight innings pitched against the New York Mets on Sunday.
  • Bieber has nine starts of five or more innings this season in 10 chances. He averages 6.4 innings per outing.
  • Bieber’s team has been victorious in 42.9% of the games he’s started as the money line favorite with a record of 3-4.
  • In games Bieber has started, his team is 3-7.
  • Games Bieber has started this season hit over two times in eight chances.


  • Jose Ramirez has 46 hits and an OBP of .348, both of which are the best among Cleveland hitters this season. He has a .266 batting average and a slugging percentage of .462.
  • He ranks 67th in batting average, 55th in on-base percentage, and 59th in slugging among qualified hitters in baseball.
  • Steven Kwan leads Cleveland in slugging percentage (.339) thanks to 13 extra-base hits. He’s batting .254 with an on-base percentage of .342.
  • His batting average is 90th among qualified players, his on-base percentage 65th, and his slugging percentage 152nd.
  • Josh Naylor is batting .224 with a .401 slugging percentage and 32 RBI this year.
  • Naylor has logged a hit or more in two games in a row. In his last five games, he is hitting .263 with a double, a home run, and six RBI.
  • Josh Bell is batting .226 with a .340 OBP and 21 RBI for Cleveland this season.

Cardinal Notes

The St. Louis Cardinals possess impressive offensive statistics, ranking 7th in team batting average at .262, 4th in on-base percentage at .335, and 5th in slugging percentage at .442. They have tallied 261 runs, placing them in 5th position. Nolan Gorman stands as the team leader in home runs with 13 and RBI with 39. Trailing behind, Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt have each hit nine home runs, with Arenado securing the second-highest RBI count at 34. Throughout 51 games, St. Louis has recorded 91 doubles, five triples, and 72 home runs.

However, the pitching department has encountered difficulties for the Cardinals. Their team ERA ranks 21st at 4.46, and they hold the 27th position in WHIP with a value of 1.46. The starting rotation has managed only 10 Quality Starts, placing them 25th in the league. Opposing batters have achieved an average of .270 against St. Louis, ranking the team 27th in that category. Jack Flaherty leads the Cardinals in strikeouts with 54. Looking ahead, Matthew Liberatore will take the mound on Friday. In the current season, the left-hander holds a record of 1-0, an ERA of 3.00, and has recorded seven strikeouts.

Cardinal Stats and Insights


  • Liberatore (1-0) takes the mound first for the Cardinals to make his second start this season.
  • His most recent time out was out of the bullpen on Sunday when the lefty tossed one inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers, surrendering two earned runs while giving up only one hit.
  • The Cardinals have yet to be named a money line underdog when Liberatore starts this season.
  • His team has won the only matchup he’s appeared in this season.
  • Liberatore’s only start with a total this season went under.


  • Paul Goldschmidt has racked up an on-base percentage of .401 and a slugging percentage of .516. Both lead the Cardinals. He’s batting .292.
  • Including all the qualified hitters in the majors, his batting average puts him 26th, his on-base percentage is 11th, and he is 26th in slugging.
  • Gorman’s 46 hits lead his team. He has a batting average of .297 while slugging .613 with an on-base percentage of .389.
  • Including all qualifying players, his batting average puts him 16th, his on-base percentage ranks 15th, and he is second in slugging.
  • Nolan Arenado has five doubles, a triple, nine home runs, and 14 walks while hitting .264.
  • Tommy Edman has nine doubles, two triples, six home runs, and 12 walks while batting .277.

Final Thoughts/Pick

St. Louis has had difficulties when facing interleague teams with losing records, losing five out of their last seven games. On the other hand, Cleveland has been successful in their last six interleague games played at home, winning five of them. Additionally, the Guardians have shown strength against right-handed starting pitchers at home, emerging victorious in 11 out of their last 12 encounters in that scenario. Matthew Liberatore, the starting pitcher for St. Louis, has only made two appearances so far, with one start and one in relief. In his most recent outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers last Sunday, the left-hander lasted only one inning, conceding one hit and two runs. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s starting pitcher, Tanner Bibee, has delivered solid performances in his last two starts, allowing a total of nine hits and three runs in 13 ⅔ innings.

Our Pick: Take the Guardians to win 7-5.

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