Guardians (47-49) vs Phillies (52-44) Game Preview | 7/21 7:10 PM

July 21, 2023

Andy Billman

Game 1: Against the Philadelphia Phillies

3 Things:

1 – Gaga for Gavin

Guardians rookie Gavin Williams is on the mound and looking to get his second-ever MLB victory on Friday.  He will be up against lefty Ranger Suarez, who did not record a victory in the month of July.

2 – Bullpen Blues

That was a tough road trip for the Cleveland bullpen.  In six games on the road, the bullpen gave up 20 runs with three blown saves to add to the pain. Hopefully, some home cookin’ will get the bullpen back on track.

3 – NL East

The Phillies will complete the NL East tour for the Guardians in 2023.  The Guardians will finish with a sub .500 against the division as so far in 2023 Cleveland is 4-8 against the NL East.

Guardians Notes

In a disappointing game on Wednesday afternoon, Cleveland surrendered a four-run lead, resulting in their fifth loss in the last seven games. As of Thursday, the Guardians held a 47-49 record for the season and secured the second position in the AL Central, trailing the Twins by 2.5 games for the top spot in the division. They were also six games behind the Astros, who held the final wild-card spot in the American League.

Despite putting up a 10-hit attack, Cleveland’s efforts were not enough to secure the victory. Josh Bell contributed significantly with three hits, including a run and two RBI, while Myles Straw added two hits and a run. Bell also managed to hit his 11th home run of the season, but it wasn’t sufficient to turn the tide.

During the game, Cleveland struggled with runners in scoring position, going three for 10, and left six runners on base. The starting pitcher, Aaron Civale, threw 5.1 innings, allowing two runs on five hits, with one walk and three strikeouts, but he didn’t factor into the decision. Unfortunately, the reliever Sam Hentges (1-2) took the loss, giving up four runs on three hits, with one walk and no strikeouts in just one-third of an inning.

In the upcoming contest, Gavin Williams will take the mound for his sixth start of the season for the Guardians. So far, he has a 1-2 record with a 3.94 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP, 11 walks, and 23 strikeouts over 29.2 innings of work this season. Williams is coming off a loss in his previous start against the Rangers on the road, where he pitched five innings, allowing two runs on four hits, with four walks and four strikeouts in a 2-0 defeat. Over his last three starts, Williams holds a 1-2 record with a 4.76 ERA, a 1.53 WHIP, seven walks, and 13 strikeouts across 17 innings.

This game marks Williams’ sixth career major league start, and he faces the Phillies for the first time. Notably, it will be his fourth career start at Progressive Field, where he currently holds a 1-1 record with a 5.60 ERA, a 1.415 WHIP, six walks, and 13 strikeouts over 17.2 innings of play.

Guardians Stats and Insights


  • Williams gets the start for the Guardians, his sixth of the season. He is 1-2 with a 3.94 ERA and 23 strikeouts through 29 2/3 innings pitched.
  • The right-hander’s last appearance came on Saturday against the Texas Rangers, when he tossed five innings, surrendering two earned runs while giving up four hits.
  • Williams will try to last five or more innings for his sixth straight appearance. He’s averaging 5.8 innings per outing.
  • In one of his five total appearances this season, he has not surrendered an earned run.
  • The Guardians were the money line underdog for two Williams starts this season — they lost both.
  • Williams’ team has won three of his five starts.
  • Williams has started five contests with a total set by bookmakers this season. The teams have combined to go over the run total in two of them.


  • They’ve hit two or more homers in 17 games this season and are 13-4 in those matchups.
  • Cleveland has gone 14-5 this season when collecting five or more extra-base hits as a team.
  • They have a record of 33-27 this season when collecting eight or more base hits in a game.
  • Cleveland has a 28-7 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.

Phillies Notes

In the final game of their series against the Brewers, the Philadelphia Phillies struggled to get their offense going, resulting in a shutout loss on their getaway day. This defeat brought their season record to 52-44, and they were currently tied for second place in the NL East, trailing the Braves by 10.5 games for the top spot. Additionally, they were locked in a tie with the Marlins for the final wild-card spot in the National League.

During the afternoon matchup, the Phillies managed just two hits, both singles delivered by Nick Castellanos and Bryson Stott. Unfortunately, the team was unable to capitalize with runners in scoring position, going zero for three in those crucial situations. The game’s losing pitcher was Taijuan Walker, with a record of 11-4, who allowed four runs on six hits, walked two and struck out six over six innings of work.

Looking ahead, the Phillies will rely on Ranger Suarez to take the mound for his 13th start of the season. He currently holds a record of 2-4 with a 3.84 ERA, a 1.353 WHIP, 25 walks, and 62 strikeouts over 68 innings pitched this year. In his most recent outing, which occurred in the first game of a doubleheader against the Padres, Suarez didn’t factor into the decision but threw six innings, conceding three runs on six hits while issuing three walks and striking out three. The Phillies ultimately won that game 6-4. However, in his last three starts, Suarez has struggled, going 0-2 with a 5.82 ERA, a 1.82 WHIP, 10 walks, and 12 strikeouts over 17 innings.

Suarez has faced the Guardians (presumably a team they are playing against) only once in his career, back on September 20, 2019. In that appearance, which came in relief, he threw a scoreless inning, allowing no hits, but giving up one walk and recording one strikeout during a 5-2 Phillies loss. Worth noting, that outing took place at Progressive Field, so Suarez is somewhat familiar with the park.

Phillies Stats and Insights


  • Suarez and his team are 7-5-0 ATS this season when he starts.
  • The left-hander’s last start was on Saturday when he tossed six innings while giving up three earned runs on six hits in a matchup with the San Diego Padres.
  • Suarez has pitched five or more innings in 10 straight games and will look to extend that streak.
  • He has finished one appearance without allowing an earned run in 12 chances this season.
  • Suarez’s team has a record of 3-2 this season when he starts and they are the favorite on the money line.
  • Suarez’s team has won seven of his 12 starts.
  • In Suarez’s 12 starts with a total, the teams have hit the over five times.


  • The Phillies have racked up at least two homers in 29 games this season, and are 22-7 in those contests.
  • Philadelphia has gone 18-6 in its 24 games this season with at least five extra-base hits.
  • The club has racked up at least eight hits in 63 games this season and is 41-22 in those contests.
  • Philadelphia is 37-5 in games this season when it scored at least five runs.
  • The Phillies are 22-8 in games this season when they have drawn five or more walks.

Final Thoughts/Pick

Cleveland holds the upper hand in this matchup due to their advantageous rest day, unlike the Phillies who played on Thursday afternoon. The Guardians are hopeful for improved relief pitching after a disappointing performance in their previous game against the Pirates, where they allowed five runs in the seventh inning, leading to a loss. Recently, Suarez has been struggling, and the Phillies’ meager output of only two hits on Thursday is a cause for concern. However, the Guardians have shown better offensive performance in recent times compared to the early months of the season, particularly with Josh Naylor being in exceptional form lately. Considering these factors, coupled with Cleveland’s home advantage and rested players, the edge goes to them. With Suarez’s recent struggles, it is likely that Cleveland will seize the opportunity and secure a victory in this game.

Our Pick: The GUARDIANS are the choice.

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