Guardians (39-42) at Cubs (39-42) Game Preview | Saturday 7/1 7:15 PM. EST.

July 1, 2023

Andy Billman

Game 2 of 3 Against the Chicago Cubs

3 Things Preview Guardians at Cubs:

1 – On the bump

Tanner Bibee gets the ball and hopes to match his last start as he went six strong with seven strikeouts getting the victory.  The Guardians will be up against veteran starter Marcus Stroman who comes into the game with an ERA of 2.47.

2 – Day off 

Both Steven Kwan and Josh Naylor were given the day off on Friday and are expected to be in the lineup on Saturday night.   For Kwan, the game on Friday was the first game all season he has missed. He had played in all 80 games up to that point.

3 – Rain

There’s rain in the forecast, along with thunderstorms for Saturday night.  Don’t be surprised if this game gets delayed and or moved to Sunday as a doubleheader.

Guardians Notes

Cleveland comes into this game after a successful road series against the Royals, but they stumbled in the first game of their current three-game series against the Cubs. In their recent 10-1 defeat, the Guardians’ starting pitcher, Cal Quantrill, took the loss after pitching 3.1 innings and conceding six earned runs on eight hits. The bullpen struggled as well, giving up four more runs over 4.2 innings. Offensively, Cleveland managed only five hits and a solitary run, with Amed Rosario being the standout performer with a 2-4 display. Will Brennan provided the team’s only home run with a solo shot in the ninth. Overall, it was a challenging loss for the Guardians, as their pitching faltered early on.

In an effort to even the series and potentially secure a win, the Guardians will hand the starting duties to right-hander Tanner Bibee in game two. Bibee has had a solid season so far, boasting a 4-2 record, a 3.79 ERA, and a 1.30 WHIP in his initial outings. In his most recent start against the Brewers, he pitched six innings, allowing two runs on three hits, while striking out seven and issuing four walks. Assuming Bibee can control his walks and maintain a manageable pitch count, we can anticipate a similar performance from him in his upcoming start.

The Guardians’ batting lineup has faced struggles this season, with limited contributions beyond Jose Ramirez and Josh Naylor. Ramirez leads the team in hits, home runs, and on-base percentage (OBP), accumulating 89 hits, 13 home runs, and a .295/.365/.520 slash line. Meanwhile, Naylor tops the team in batting average and runs batted in (RBI), with 58 RBIs and a .296/.337/.476 slash line. Steven Kwan and Amed Rosario have also shown some promise, but Cleveland needs greater consistency from the entire lineup to improve their win-loss record.

Guardians Stats and Insights

GUARDIANS PROBABLE PITCHER – Tanner Bibee

  • The Guardians are sending Bibee (4-2) to the mound to make his 12th start of the season. He is 4-2 with a 3.79 ERA and 58 strikeouts over 59 1/3 innings pitched.
  • In his most recent outing on Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers, the right-hander threw six innings, allowing one earned run while surrendering three hits.
  • Bibee is aiming for his third straight outing lasting five or more innings. He averages 5.4 frames per start.
  • He surrendered one or more earned runs in each of his appearances in 2023.
  • The Guardians have been the underdog on the moneyline in six of Bibee’s starts this season, and they went 1-5 in those matchups.
  • Bibee’s team has won five of his 11 starts.
  • Bibee’s starts with a set total this season have gone over the run total in five of 11 games.

GUARDIANS HITTING TRENDS

  • They have won 10 of the 12 games this season in which they hit two or more home runs.
  • In 16 games with five or more extra-base hits this season, it has a record of 11-5.
  • In 48 games this season with eight or more hits, they have a record of 26-22.
  • Cleveland has a 21-5 record this season when scoring five or more runs in a game.
  • They have a 13-9 record this season when drawing five or more walks in a game.

Cubs Notes

Chicago heads into this game after suffering a home sweep at the hands of the Phillies in their previous series. However, they managed to win the first game of their current three-game series against the Guardians. Their last victory showcased an impressive performance by Justin Steele, who started and won the game for the Cubs. Steele pitched 6.1 scoreless innings, allowing only three hits while striking out six. Following his stellar outing, the Cubs relied on their bullpen, which allowed just one run despite entering the game with a nine-run lead. Offensively, the Cubs had a strong showing, tallying 13 hits and 10 runs. Several players had multi-hit games, including Nico Hoerner, who went 3-for-4, Cody Bellinger, who went 2-for-4, Jared Young, who went 2-for-3, and Nick Madrigal, who went 2-for-4. Overall, it was a fantastic game for the Cubs, as their bats delivered early in the game, providing a comfortable lead.

In an effort to secure a series win, and potentially a sweep, the Cubs will hand the ball to right-hander Marcus Stroman for game two. Stroman has been performing at an all-star level this season, boasting a 9-5 record, a 2.47 ERA, and a 1.08 WHIP. However, his most recent start against the Cardinals didn’t go as well, as he pitched 3.1 innings and conceded eight hits, resulting in three earned runs and six total runs scored. Nevertheless, Stroman is expected to bounce back and deliver a stronger performance against the struggling Guardians lineup, given his solid track record this season.

The Cubs’ batting lineup has been underwhelming so far, considering their win-loss record is slightly below .500. Nico Hoerner has been the standout performer, leading the team in hits, average, and RBIs with 88 hits, 42 RBIs, and a .290/.338/.406 slash line for the season. Patrick Wisdom leads the team with 14 home runs, although his slash line of .196/.385/.467 leaves room for improvement. Ian Happ tops the team in OBP, slashing .254/.378/.407. On the other hand, Dansby Swanson and Cody Bellinger have struggled, both hitting in the mid .200s. The Cubs hope for increased production from the majority of their hitters going forward to improve their overall offensive output.

Cubs Stats and Insights

CUBS PROBABLE PITCHER – Marcus Stroman

  • Stroman and his team have a record of 9-8-0 against the spread when he starts.
  • The right-hander gave up three earned runs in 3 1/3 innings pitched on Sunday in his last outing, a matchup with the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • Stroman has started 17 games this season, and he’s lasted five or more innings 15 times. He averages 6.0 innings per appearance.
  • In 17 appearances this season, he has finished six without allowing an earned run.
  • Stroman’s team has a record of 6-4 this season when he starts and they are the favorite on the money line.
  • Stroman’s team has won 10 of his 17 starts.
  • Games Stroman has started this season hit the over four times in 17 chances.

CUBS HITTING TRENDS

  • The Cubs have hit two or more home runs in 31 games this season, and are 18-13 in those contests.
  • Chicago has gone 13-2 in its 15 games this season with five or more extra-base hits.
  • The team is 38-15 in the games this season it has totaled eight or more hits.
  • Chicago has a 30-8 record in games this season when it scored five or more runs.
  • The Cubs have gone 16-14 over the 30 games this season when they have drawn five or more walks.

Final Thoughts/Pick

One notable advantage for the Cubs lies in their pitching, as Marcus Stroman is set to start against the Guardians’ Tanner Bibee. Stroman boasts an impressive 2.47 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP, while Bibee’s numbers stand at a 3.79 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP for the season. This pitching matchup favors the Cubs.

Furthermore, the Cubs enjoy the benefits of playing at home, where they typically perform better and exhibit a higher level of play.

Taking into account recent trends, the Guardians have struggled in their past four road games when the total score was set below 8. They have failed to secure a victory in all four instances. Additionally, historical data reveals that the Guardians have struggled in their past five meetings in Chicago, winning just once. This further supports the likelihood of a Cubs victory.

Our Pick: Take the Cubs and the Money Line

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