Guardians (53-55) vs. Astros (61-47) Game Preview | 8/2 2:10 PM

August 2, 2023

Andy Billman

Series Finale Against the Houston Astros

3 Things Preview Guardians vs. Astros:

1 – Battling Bibee 

On the bump for the Guardians will be Tanner Bibee trying to get a win in Houston on Wednesday.  Bibee was fantastic in July going 3-0 with an ERA of 1.78. 

2 – Josh Naylor 

Josh Naylor was a late scratch on Tuesday due to right-side tightness.  Naylor felt the same tightness on Monday, and after attempting batting practice decided to sit it out on Tuesday night.  

3 – Tyler Freeman  

Tyler Freeman left the game early on Tuesday as he fouled a pitch off of his leg in the top of the 4th.  Freeman has also been battling a sore shoulder recently.  

Guardians Notes

Despite facing a challenging year, the Guardians have managed to stay competitive in their division thanks to their resilient starting pitching. Among their standout pitchers, Tanner Bibee has truly shined, surrendering a mere 33 runs across 89.2 innings pitched and striking out an impressive 91 batters. Notably, Bibee has held opponents to a meager .357 expected opponent Slugging Percentage, coupled with a 6.1 Barrel Percentage and a projected 3.46 ERA, making it a struggle for opponents to generate impactful hits against him and bring in runs.

Bibee’s exceptional performances on the mound have been a bright spot, however, the team’s offensive lineup has faced significant challenges this season, averaging only 4.15 runs per game. While Jose Ramirez has showcased an impressive slash line of .292/.362/.509 alongside 18 home runs and 207 total bases, the contributions of Josh Naylor and Steven Kwan, who have combined for 20 home runs and 346 total bases, stand out. Regrettably, the remainder of the lineup has encountered difficulties. Merely three batters have managed to hit 10 or more home runs, with an additional three achieving an OPS+ over 100. This lopsided offensive distribution allows opposing pitchers to effectively neutralize the team’s top-heavy lineup.

Guardians Stats and Insights


  • Bibee makes the start for the Guardians, his 17th of the season. He is 7-2 with a 3.11 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 89 2/3 innings pitched.
  • The righty’s most recent appearance came on Friday against the Chicago White Sox, when he threw 6 2/3 innings, surrendering three earned runs while allowing six hits.
  • Bibee will aim to last five or more innings for his eighth straight start. He’s averaging 5.6 frames per outing.
  • He has made two appearances this season in which he did not allow an earned run.
  • The Guardians have been the moneyline underdog in nine of Bibee’s starts this season, and they went 3-6 in those matchups.
  • Bibee’s team has won nine of his 16 starts.
  • Bibee’s starts hit the over on the run total seven times in 16 games with a set total this season.


  • They’ve hit two or more homers in 21 games this season and are 16-5 in those matchups.
  • Cleveland has won 16 of its 21 games with five or more extra-base hits this season.
  • They have a record of 37-31 this season when collecting eight or more base hits in a game.
  • 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

The Astros are currently experiencing a successful season and are aiming to secure the top position in their division in the upcoming weeks. Ronel Blanco has displayed moments of excellence on the pitching mound, boasting a 34.4% Hard-hit Percentage and a 24.1% Strikeout Percentage. However, he has encountered challenges this year, conceding 27 runs across 46 innings pitched. Furthermore, opponents have managed to exploit Blanco’s vulnerabilities, evident in their .457 expected opponent Slugging Percentage, a 12.8% Barrel Percentage, and a projected 5.20 ERA. These statistics indicate that opponents have been effectively capitalizing on their hitting opportunities against Blanco, resulting in easy runs being scored.

Despite Blanco’s pitching struggles, the team’s batting lineup has risen to the occasion by averaging an impressive 4.79 runs per game. Yordan Alvarez has been a standout performer, boasting a slash line of .286/.395/.605, with 19 home runs and 133 total bases. Chas McCormick has also contributed significantly, with a slash line of .285/.372/.526, 13 home runs, and 120 total bases. The remaining members of the lineup have also demonstrated exceptional performance. Kyle Tucker holds a slash line of .301/.380/.510, accompanied by 18 home runs and 195 total bases. Notably, Yainer Diaz and Alex Bregman have collectively contributed 31 home runs and 287 total bases, enhancing the lineup’s depth and solidifying the Astros’ formidable offensive prowess. This combined effort makes it challenging for opposing teams to effectively halt the Astros’ offensive onslaught.

Astros Stats and Insights


  • Blanco’s team is 4-2-0 against the spread in his starts this season.
  • The right-hander last pitched on Friday, July 7 against the Seattle Mariners, throwing six innings and giving up three earned runs.
  • In six starts this season, Blanco has lasted five or more innings six times, with an average of 3.1 innings per appearance.
  • In 15 appearances this season, he has finished six without allowing an earned run.
  • Blanco’s team is 1-1 this season when he starts and they’re favored on the moneyline.
  • Blanco’s team has won two of his six starts this season.
  • In Blanco’s six starts with a total, the teams have hit the over two times.


  • The Astros have a 25-9 record in games this season when they hit at least two home runs.
  • Houston is 16-5 in games this season when it has had five or more extra-base hits.
  • The club has put up eight or more hits 72 times this season, and has a 56-16 record in those games.
  • Houston has a 51-9 record in games this season when it scored five or more runs.
  • The Astros have gone 25-7 in the 32 games this season when they have drawn at least five walks.

Final Thoughts/Pick

The Guardians are aiming to conclude this series on a positive note, while the Astros are determined to assert their dominance on their home turf. With an average of 4.79 runs per game, the Astros are expected to confidently drive in runs, leveraging the strong hitting abilities of players like Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman. Their lineup’s powerful contact should enable them to score runs effectively against the Guardians’ pitchers, securing runs with ease. Furthermore, pitcher Ronel Blanco’s impressive performance is anticipated to provide multiple strong innings, setting the stage for the bullpen to confidently seal the game with a comfortable lead. The Astros are favored to emerge victorious, delivering a commanding performance at home that should also cover the spread.

Our Pick: Astros and the run line -1.5

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