Guardians (42-44) vs. Royals (25-62) Game Preview | Thursday 7/6 7:10 PM. EST.

July 6, 2023

Andy Billman

Game 1 of 4 Against the Kansas City Royals

3 Things Preview Guardians vs. Royals:

1 – Turn the Page

As Bob Seger would say, it is time for the Guardians to turn the page on the Braves series and move on to the Royals, who come into town losers of three in a row.  Cleveland must take advantage of playing the Royals, the team tied with the fewest wins in baseball. 

2 – Bibee 

Tanner Bibee is on the bump tonight for the Guards, and he is on a roll.  Bibee has won three straight decisions and he has the second-lowest ERA for a Guardians starter at 3.46. Jordan Lyles toes the mound for the Royals with his 1-11 and 6.68 ERA. 

3 – On Fire, on Ice  

Steven Kwan had a great three games at the plate against the Braves going 7 for 15, and Amed Rosario also had a strong series with five hits and seven RBIs.  

On the opposite side, Josh Bell was 1 for 12 and had several key outs ending rallies for the Guards.  Bell has started to receive some light booing from fans, hopefully, he can turn it around.

Guardians Notes

On Thursday, Tanner Bibee will take the mound for Cleveland. In his previous start against the Cubs, Bibee delivered an outstanding performance, pitching 5.2 shut-out innings and securing the win. Although he had a challenging month in June, resulting in a 5.40 ERA, the rookie right-handed pitcher has shown promise throughout the season. He currently holds a 3.46 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP, accompanied by a 5-2 record in 65 innings pitched. Notably, Bibee has only allowed six home runs so far. This upcoming game against the Royals will be his first encounter with the team.

Cleveland’s performance has been noteworthy, as they are just one game behind the leader in the AL Central. There is a strong possibility that they may claim the top spot at some point this month. In their previous series, the Guardians won two out of three games against the Cubs. Additionally, they achieved a significant 6-5 home victory against the Braves on Wednesday. Over their last ten games, Cleveland has maintained a balanced record of 5 wins and 5 losses.

During the previous series against the Royals, Jose Ramirez had an exceptional performance, accumulating six RBIs. The 30-year-old slugger continues to have a productive season, hitting 13 home runs, driving in 52 runs, and maintaining an impressive .858 OPS. However, Ramirez has experienced a recent decline, with only two hits and zero RBIs in the current month. Furthermore, Josh Naylor’s participation in the game is uncertain due to a wrist injury.

Cleveland has averaged 4.05 runs per game this year, placing them 27th in the league. Their strength lies in pitching, as they possess a team ERA of 3.08, which ranks seventh in Major League Baseball.

Guardians Stats and Insights

GUARDIANS PROBABLE PITCHER – Tanner Bibee

  • Bibee’s team is 8-4-0 against the spread in his starts this season.
  • The right-hander did not allow a run in 5 2/3 innings pitched on Saturday in his last outing, a matchup with the Chicago Cubs.
  • Bibee has three starts in a row of five innings or more.
  • He has one appearance this season with zero earned runs allowed out of his 12 chances this season.
  • Bibee’s team is 4-1 this season when he starts and they are the moneyline favorite.
  • In games Bibee has started, his team is 6-6.
  • In games Bibee has started this season, the teams are 5-7-0 at hitting the over.

GUARDIANS HITTING TRENDS

  • The Guardians are 10-2 this season in games when they hit at least two long balls.
  • Cleveland is 11-5 in games this season when it has had five or more extra-base hits.
  • The club has put up eight or more hits in 52 games this season, and is 29-23 in those contests.
  • Cleveland is 24-5 in games this season when it scored at least five runs.
  • The Guardians have drawn at least five walks in 22 games this season, and are 13-9 in those contests.

Royals Notes

On Thursday, Jordan Lyles will be given the opportunity to start. He was sidelined in his last appearance due to a minor injury but managed to secure his first win of the season by allowing four runs on eight hits in six innings against the Rays. Unfortunately, Lyles has been struggling this year with a disappointing 6.68 ERA, a 1.30 WHIP, and a dismal 1-11 record over 91.2 innings pitched. His track record against the White Sox is also unimpressive, with a 4.67 ERA and a 2-1 record in three previous matchups.

The Royals are currently in the midst of a seven-game road trip. They gained some confidence by winning two out of three games against the Dodgers last weekend, during which they scored a total of 18 runs. However, their pitching staff faced difficulties against Minnesota earlier this week. Overall, it has been a disastrous season for the Royals, exacerbated by injuries, and they have only managed to win three out of their last ten games.

The return of Michael Massey from the injured list is a positive development for the Royals. Despite his modest statistics, the 25-year-old second baseman has been serviceable for the team. In 61 games, he has accumulated 20 RBIs and holds a .596 OPS. It is worth noting that last season, Massey struggled against the Guardians, hitting only .179 with three RBIs.

Offensively, the Royals have been struggling, averaging 3.79 runs per game, placing them 28th in the league. Their pitching staff has also been performing poorly, with a team ERA of 5.29, which ranks them 28th as well.

Royals Stats and Insights

ROYALS PROBABLE PITCHER – Jordan Lyles

  • The Royals will send Lyles (1-11) out for his 17th start of the season. He is 1-11 with a 6.48 ERA and 64 strikeouts over 91 2/3 innings pitched.
  • In his last time out on Saturday, June 24 against the Tampa Bay Rays, the right-hander tossed six innings, allowing four earned runs while surrendering eight hits.
  • Lyles is looking for his eighth straight outing lasting five or more innings. He averages 5.7 innings per start.
  • He has not had an appearance yet in 2023 in which he has not given up at least one earned run.
  • The Royals have been the money line underdog in 14 of Lyles’ starts this season, and they went 1-13 in those matchups.
  • Lyles’ team has a 1-15 record over his 16 starts.
  • Lyles starts with a set total this season have gone over the run total in eight of 16 contests.

ROYALS HITTING TRENDS

  • They are 6-13 this season when they hit two or more home runs in a game.
  • Kansas City has won eight of its 19 games with five or more extra-base hits this season.
  • They have a record of 18-32 this season when collecting eight or more base hits in a game.
  • Kansas City has a 16-10 record this season when scoring five or more runs in a game.
  • They have won three of their 13 games this season in which they’ve drawn more than four free passes.

Final Thoughts/Pick

The Royals are facing a challenging situation as they head on the road for this game and series. They have struggled significantly as a road team, making it difficult for them to score runs. On the other hand, the Cleveland Guardians are aiming for first place and have been performing exceptionally well at the plate, posing a formidable challenge to their opponents due to their outstanding pitching.

Adding to the Royals’ concerns is their starter, Jordan Lyles, who has proven to be unreliable. In the month of June, Lyles recorded a high 5.40 ERA, and his performance on the road has been particularly disastrous, with an alarming 8.02 ERA. The Guardians have historically fared well against Lyles, as he holds a career ERA of 4.67 against them.

In contrast, the Guardians’ starting pitcher, Tanner Bibee, is an exceptional rookie who has been in excellent form. Over his last three outings spanning 16.2 innings, Bibee has only surrendered four runs. Impressively, the Guardians have emerged victorious in each of Bibee’s last three starts, showcasing his impact on the team’s success.

Our Pick: Take the Guardians and the Runline -1.5

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