Guardians (53-54) vs. Astros (60-47) Game Preview | 8/1 8:10 PM

July 31, 2023

Andy Billman

Game 2 of 3 Against the Houston Astros

3 Things Preview Guardians vs. Astros:

1 – Gaga for Gavin

Gavin Williams will be looking for his first win since July 8th as he toes the mound tonight for the Guards.  Williams has only been able to get through four innings in his last two starts and has not gone six-plus innings since the Braves start back on July 3rd. 

2 – Is Gimenez Ready For August?

July was a tough month for Andres Gimenez batting barely over 200 with a .211 average in July.  In his last seven games with 28 at-bats, Gimenez only has three hits over that span. 

3 – Straw Struggles 

Myles Straw got a hit last night and that was a welcome sight as Straw had not gotten a hit in a week.  Straw is currently one of his last 17 at-bats. 

Guardians Notes

Throughout the season, the Guardians have maintained a .500 win-loss record, keeping them within striking distance in the division. One of their highly-touted prospects, Gavin Williams, has encountered challenges on the mound, conceding 14 runs in 37.2 innings pitched. Opponents have found success against him with a .268 expected opponent Batting Average, a high 10.8 Walk Rate, and a 4.74 expected ERA, capitalizing on their plate appearances to drive in runs easily.

While Williams’ struggles are evident, the bigger disappointment for the team lies in their lineup’s performance, as they have only managed to score an average of 4.16 runs per game. On a positive note, Jose Ramirez has been exceptional with a .292 batting average, a .361 on-base percentage, and a .510 slugging percentage, hitting 18 home runs and accumulating 206 total bases. Similarly, Josh Naylor has also performed well with a .308 batting average, a .347 on-base percentage, and a .504 slugging percentage, achieving 15 home runs and 180 total bases. However, the rest of the batting order has struggled significantly. Only three batters have an OPS+ (On-base Plus Slugging Plus) score over 100, making the lineup top-heavy and allowing opposing pitchers to effectively contain the team’s offense.

Guardians Stats and Insights


  • Williams (1-2) takes the mound first for the Guardians in his eighth start of the season. He’s put together a 3.35 ERA in 37 2/3 innings pitched, with 31 strikeouts.
  • In his most recent outing on Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals, the right-hander went four scoreless innings while surrendering three hits.
  • Williams has put up five starts this campaign where he pitched five or more innings.
  • He has had two appearances this season in which he did not surrender an earned run.
  • The Guardians are 1-2 in Williams’ three starts this season they were the underdog on the money line.
  • Williams’ team has a 5-2 record in his starts this season.
  • Williams starts with a set total this season and has hit the over in four of seven games.


  • They have won 16 of the 21 games this season in which they hit two or more home runs.
  • Cleveland has gone 16-5 this season when collecting five or more extra-base hits as a team.
  • In 68 games this season with eight or more hits, they have a record of 37-31.
  • Cleveland has a 33-8 record this season when scoring five or more runs in a game.
  • They have won 15 of their 24 games this season in which they’ve drawn more than four free passes.

Astros Notes

Once again the Astros are having a remarkable season, showing great potential to win their division. Although Framber Valdez, one of their top pitchers, is facing challenges on the mound, conceding 46 runs in 126 innings pitched, the rest of the team has stepped up to compensate.

Valdez’s statistics indicate a tough season, with a .249 expected opponent Batting Average, a 46.5 Hard-Hit Percentage, and a 4.08 expected ERA. Opponents are taking advantage of this and scoring runs easily against him.

However, the Astros’ lineup has been exceptional. They are scoring an impressive average of 4.77 runs per game, and since the All-Star break, they have increased it to 5.93 runs per game. Yordan Alvarez has been outstanding, boasting a .286/.394/.594 slash line with 18 home runs and 129 total bases. Chas McCormick has also been contributing significantly, with a .285/.372/.526 slash line, 13 home runs, and 120 total bases.

The team’s success doesn’t end there. Kyle Tucker is excelling with a .299/.380/.511 slash line, 18 home runs, and 193 total bases. Alex Bregman and Yainer Diaz are making their mark as well, adding 31 home runs and 224 total bases to the back half of the lineup. With such an impressive offensive performance, the Astros are proving to be a formidable force at the plate, making it challenging for opponents to stop them.

Astros Stats and Insights


  • Valdez and his team have a record of 9-11-0 against the spread when he starts.
  • The left-hander gave up six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings pitched on Thursday in his last outing, a matchup with the Texas Rangers.
  • In 20 starts this season, Valdez has lasted five or more innings 18 times, with an average of 6.3 innings per appearance.
  • He has made 20 appearances and finished three of them without allowing an earned run.
  • Valdez’s team has been victorious in 50% of the games he’s started as the money line favorite with a record of 9-9.
  • Valdez’s team has an 11-9 record in his starts this season.
  • Games started by Valdez have an 11-9-0 record at hitting the over this season.


  • The Astros have a 25-9 record this season in games when they hit at least two home runs.
  • Houston has gone 16-5 in its 21 games this season with five or more extra-base hits.
  • The club is 56-16 in the games this season it has totaled at least eight hits.
  • Houston is 51-9 in games this season when it scored at least five runs.
  • The Astros have drawn five or more walks in 32 games this season, and are 25-7 in those contests.

Final Thoughts/Pick

The Guardians are eager to make a push in their division, but the Astros have the opportunity to take charge at home and dominate this game. With an impressive average of 4.77 runs per game, the Astros should confidently drive in runs, utilizing the talents of players like Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker, who can make solid contact and crush pitches against the Guardians’ pitchers. This should lead to easy scoring opportunities and runs for the Astros as their lineup excels.

Moreover, the Astros’ pitching, led by Framber Valdez, has the potential to limit the Guardians’ lineup to an average of 4.16 runs per game. Valdez is expected to step up and deliver multiple scoreless innings, providing a comfortable lead for the Astros. As a result, their bullpen should have no trouble closing out the game with confidence.

Overall, the Astros are likely to win the game convincingly at home, covering the spread in a dominant display of their skills and home advantage.

Our Pick: Astros and the run line -1.5

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