Guardians (34-38) vs A’s (19-56) Game Preview | Wednesday 6/21 7:10 PM. EST.

June 21, 2023

Andy Billman

Game 2 of 3 Against the Oakland A’s

3 Things Preview Cleveland Guardians vs. Athletics:

1 – Gavin Williams Debut 

Gavin Williams will make his MLB debut for the Guardians.  Cleveland selected Williams out of East Carolina in the 1st round (23rd overall) in the 2021 MLB draft.  In 2023, Williams has an ERA of 0.63 in 14 1/3 innings with Double-A Akron.  In Triple-A Columbus, Williams had nine starts with a 2.93 ERA, 61 strikeouts in 46 innings.

2 – Tied in the loss column

After the Guardians win last night combined with the Twins loss to the Red Sox, Cleveland, and Minnesota are tied in the loss column both with 38 losses.  The Guardians are still one game behind the Twins but have played two fewer games than Minnesota. 

3 – Hitting in the clutch 

The Guardians have two players who are hitting in the clutch this season, Josh Naylor leads all of baseball with the most RBIs after the 7th inning with 24, and Amed Rosario is hitting 9 for 18 with runners on base with two outs. 

Guardians Notes

The Guardians are currently experiencing a challenging season and are eager to embark on a winning streak to enhance their standing in the division. In order to achieve this, the team will be relying on Gavin Williams, one of their highly regarded pitching prospects who has yet to make his debut in the major leagues. The team is hopeful that his outstanding performance in the minor leagues, where he allowed only 16 runs in 46 innings pitched and struck out 61 batters, will translate into success at the major league level.

In addition to Williams’ anticipated strong debut, the Guardians are looking for improvements in their lineup. Currently, the team is averaging only 3.90 runs per game. Jose Ramirez has been a standout performer, boasting a slash line of .285/.349/.502 with 11 home runs and 137 total bases. Josh Naylor and Josh Bell have also contributed with 14 home runs and 189 total bases combined. However, the remaining members of the lineup have struggled to find their form. Only two batters have an OPS+ over 100, and as a result, opposing pitchers can effectively contain the lineup’s top-heavy nature.

Guardians Stats and Insights



  • The Guardians’ 46 home runs rank last in MLB this season.
  • Hitters for Cleveland have combined to rank 28th in the majors with a .367 team slugging percentage.
  • The Guardians rank 18th in MLB with a .244 team batting average.
  • Cleveland is among the lowest-scoring teams in the majors, ranking 27th with just 280 total runs (3.9 per game) this season.
  • The Guardians have the 22nd-ranked on-base percentage in MLB this season (.309).
  • Cleveland has shown patience at the plate this season with the second-best rate of strikeouts per game (7.1) among MLB offenses.

A’s Notes

The A’s are enduring a forgettable season, desperately seeking a turnaround to avoid ending the year with one of the worst records in baseball history. Despite their struggles, Paul Blackburn has emerged as a reliable force on the mound, making an impact in just four games. He has allowed a mere nine runs in 20.2 innings pitched while recording an impressive 23 strikeouts. Opponents are finding it challenging to make solid contact and drive in runs against Blackburn, evidenced by his .220 expected opponent Batting Average, .360 expected opponent Slugging Percentage, and a promising 3.16 expected ERA.

However, the A’s have been let down by their lineup throughout the season. They are averaging a meager 3.54 runs per game, including a paltry 13 runs in their last six outings. Brent Rooker has been a bright spot, slashing .255/.356/.491 with 13 home runs and 106 total bases. Shea Langeliers and Ryan Noda have also contributed with 15 home runs and 165 total bases combined. Unfortunately, the remainder of the lineup has struggled, with only two batters posting an OPS+ over 100. Opposing pitchers find it relatively easy to neutralize the feeble A’s lineup.

A’s Stats and Insights

A’s PROBABLE PITCHER – Paul Blackburn

  • Blackburn (0-0) gets the starting nod for the Athletics in his fifth start of the season. He has a 3.48 ERA in 20 2/3 innings pitched, with 23 strikeouts.
  • The righty’s last time out was on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays, when he went 5 2/3 innings, surrendering two earned runs while giving up seven hits.
  • The 29-year-old has an ERA of 3.48, with 10 strikeouts per nine innings in four games this season. Opponents are batting .265 against him.
  • Blackburn enters this game with one quality start under his belt this year.
  • Blackburn is trying for his fourth straight outing lasting five or more innings. He averages 5.1 frames per start.
  • In one of his four total appearances this season, he has not given up an earned run.


  • The Athletics rank 22nd in baseball with 69 home runs. They average 0.9 per game.
  • So far this year, Oakland’s .352 slugging percentage is the lowest percentage in baseball.
  • The Athletics rank last in the majors with a .221 batting average.
  • Oakland is the lowest-scoring team in baseball averaging 3.5 runs per game (264 total).
  • The Athletics’ .303 on-base percentage is the fifth-worst in the majors.

Final Thoughts/Pick

The A’s have faced difficulties throughout the season, but Paul Blackburn stands out as one of their stronger starting pitchers, and they expect him to shine in this game. With Brent Rooker, Ryan Noda, and the rest of the lineup consistently making solid contact and hitting the ball with power, the A’s should be able to consistently bring baserunners across home plate against the Guardians’ pitching staff. Moreover, the A’s should be able to contain the Guardians’ lineup, which typically averages a mere 3.90 runs per game. Paul Blackburn will step up and deliver multiple scoreless innings, allowing the bullpen to secure the victory. Despite being underdogs on the road, the A’s are poised to win the game and offer favorable odds in the process. While excited to see what Gavin Williams starts today A’s have a good chance to stay in this game and win.

Our Pick: A’s and the Moneyline (+145)

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