Guardians (46-48) at Pirates (41-53) Game Preview | 7/18 7:05 PM

July 18, 2023

Andy Billman

Game 2 of 3 Against the Pittsburgh Pirates

3 Things:

1 – Logan Allen is back 

Welcome back to the show Logan Allen.  Allen last pitched on June 28th against the Royals, only going 3 2/3 innings, but Allen does have an ERA of 3.47.  He will be up against Pirates all-star Mitch Keller. 

2 – Naylor loves July 

Josh Naylor has been clutch all season and is currently carrying an eight-game hitting streak. Naylor is really heating up in July as he’s currently batting a .395 average in July and has an average of .310 overall, 7th best in baseball.

3 – Communication breakdown 

Multiple miscommunications came on Monday with second baseman Andres Gimenez and Josh Naylor tracking down pop flies.  One, in particular, happened in the bottom of the 9th as a pop fly went into shallow right and Gimenez and Naylor were unable to communicate who should get the ball almost colliding into one another as the ball touched the turf for a base hit.  Needs to be cleaned up as they were clearly not on the same page defensively. 


Guardians Notes

Cleveland’s losing streak had reached four games before last night’s huge win over the Pirates, they were the lone remaining team to not have lost 4 games in a row. The question now arises: can they keep up with Minnesota in the upcoming weeks? The Guardians have been averaging 4.02 runs per game, ranking 27th in the league, and their batting average is .250 (16th) with a .690 OPS (26th). Their home run count stands at 64 (30th), while their stolen base count is 75 (8th) in the 2023 season. On the pitching side, the team has maintained a solid performance with a 3.92 ERA (10th) and a 1.28 WHIP (17th), including 35 quality starts.

In the second game of the series today, Allen will be taking the mound for Cleveland. The young left-handed pitcher had an impressive outing in his last start, keeping Kansas City scoreless with three hits and five strikeouts in 3.2 innings. He also achieved a similar feat in his previous start against Oakland, pitching four scoreless innings. These performances were crucial for him to bounce back after giving up ten earned runs (over nine innings) in mid-June against Houston and San Diego.

Guardians Stats and Insights

GUARDIANS PROBABLE PITCHER – Logan Allen

  • Allen (3-2) gets the starting nod for the Guardians in his 13th start of the season. He’s put together a 3.47 ERA in 62 1/3 innings pitched, with 63 strikeouts.
  • His last time out came on Thursday, June 29 against the Kansas City Royals, when the lefty tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings while allowing three hits.
  • Allen has pitched five or more innings in a game eight times this season entering this game.
  • In three of his appearances this season, he has not allowed an earned run.
  • The Guardians have a 5-1 record in Allen’s six starts this season when they were the underdog on the moneyline.
  • Over Allen’s 12 starts, his team is 9-3.
  • Allen has had 12 starts that bookmakers set a total for this season, and five of those outings hit the over.

GUARDIANS BATTING INSIGHTS

  • They have won 12 of the 16 games this season in which they hit two or more home runs.
  • In 18 games with five or more extra-base hits this season, it has a record of 13-5.
  • They have won 32 of the 58 games in which they’ve collected eight or more hits this season.
  • Cleveland has won 27 of its 33 games this season in which it scored more than four runs.
  • In 22 games this season with five or more walks drawn, they’ve posted a record of 13-9

Pirates Notes

Pittsburgh is currently facing significant challenges, having lost seven of its last eight games overall. They find themselves trailing the division leader by 10.5 games and are 11 games below a .500 win-loss record. Offensively, the Pirates have been averaging 4.17 runs per game (ranked 24th), hitting .238 (ranked 21st) with a .698 OPS (ranked 24th). In terms of power, they have hit 83 home runs (ranked 27th) and stolen 82 bases (ranked 5th) in the 2023 season. On the pitching side, the Pittsburgh staff has recorded a 4.38 ERA (ranked 19th) and a 1.38 WHIP (ranked 23rd), producing 39 quality starts.

Tonight’s game will feature Keller as the starting pitcher for the home team. The All-Star pitcher had an outstanding performance in his last start against Arizona, allowing only one hit and no runs over seven innings. In fact, Keller has held four of his last six opponents to one run or fewer, accumulating a total of 27 innings pitched in those games. Throughout the season, the fifth-year professional has maintained an impressive 129:34 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Pirates Stats and Insights

PIRATES PROBABLE PITCHER – Mitch Keller

  • When Keller starts, his team is 12-7-0 against the spread this season.
  • The right-hander did not allow a run in seven innings pitched on Saturday, July 8 in his last outing, a matchup with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • Keller has pitched five or more innings in 18 straight games and will look to extend that streak.
  • In 19 appearances this season, he has finished three without allowing an earned run.
  • Keller’s team is 4-3 this season when he starts and they are the money line favorite.
  • In games Keller has started, his team is 11-8.
  • Games started by Keller have a 9-9-1 record at hitting the over this season.

PIRATES BATTING INSIGHTS

  • The Pirates are 18-6 this season in games when they crush two or more homers.
  • Pittsburgh has gone 16-2 in its 18 games this season with five or more extra-base hits.
  • The team is 29-12 in the games this season it has collected at least eight hits.
  • Pittsburgh is 26-5 in games this season when it put up at least five runs.
  • The Pirates are 13-14 in the 27 games this season when they have drawn five or more walks.

Final Thoughts/Pick

At the time of this article’s publication, no official announcement has been made, but Keller is scheduled to start on Tuesday. It would be surprising if he didn’t take the mound, considering he hasn’t pitched since July 8 and was limited to one inning during the All-Star game. The timing of his next start is intriguing, given that the Pirates are struggling, and several playoff contenders would be interested in acquiring him.

Regardless of the starting pitcher for the opposing team, I have confidence in the Pirates’ hitters against left-handed pitcher Allen on Tuesday. Pittsburgh has better batting statistics against lefties with a batting average of .253, on-base percentage of .330, slugging percentage of .394, and an OPS of .723, compared to their performance against right-handed pitchers with a batting average of .231, on-base percentage of .308, slugging percentage of .379, and an OPS of .687. Additionally, the Pirates tend to perform better at home with a batting line of .245/.326/.379/.705, compared to their performance on the road with a line of .231/.304/.388/.692. Allen has struggled to pitch deep into games since June 9 when he gave up nine hits and five runs against Houston. If he encounters early difficulties, it is likely that the rookie will have another short outing.

Considering these factors, it is advisable to bet on the Pirates to secure a victory at home and end their losing streak.

Our Pick: Take Pirates

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