Guardians (60-68) vs. Blue Jays (70-57) Match-Up Preview | 8/25 7:07 PM EST

August 25, 2023

Andy Billman

Game 1 Against the Toronto Blue Jays

3 Things Preview For Today’s Game:

1 –  Battling Bibee

Tanner Bibee is on the bump Friday night looking to bounce back from his defeat to the Tigers in his last start. 

2 – Gallagher Back

Cam Gallagher is back from the 7-day IL stint and Brayan Rocchio is heading back to Columbus.

3 – Series Win

The Guardians are still looking for their first series win in the month of August.  Their last series victory came against Kansas City in late July.  That of course was the start of the trades by the Guardians as Amed Rosario was moved shortly after.

Guardians Notes

In a remarkable twist, powered by the AL Central, the Cleveland Guardians find themselves within striking distance of the division lead despite maintaining a losing record after nearly 130 games. There’s still a chance for the team to stage a comeback and secure a place in October, but the key lies in reinvigorating their offense. Unfortunately, this task becomes even more challenging with Josh Naylor, the team’s primary power hitter, sidelined due to injury. The dream of such a resurgence is likely to remain just that—a dream. The Guardians currently rank 27th in runs scored per game this season, primarily due to their last-place standing in home runs and a 29th place ranking in slugging.

Even though the team boasts the best strikeout rate in MLB and a solid top 10 position in stolen bases, these statistics lose their impact when opposing pitchers don’t fear the long ball. A major contributing factor to their struggles is their low walk rate (25th), which results from an inability to pressure pitchers with the threat of powerful hits. Notably, the absence of Naylor throughout August has coincided with Cleveland scoring fewer runs than any other team this month. The onus falls on someone other than Jose Ramirez to step up, yet none of the Guardians seem suited for this role.

Thus, once again, the team turns to its pitching staff to rescue the situation. Despite a 7-13 record, August has been the staff’s strongest month, and they aim to continue this trend in the remaining days. Taking the mound on Friday is Tanner Bibee, making his second start against the Blue Jays this month. His previous outing was exceptional, featuring 7.0 shutout innings, six strikeouts, and no walks, which proved crucial in a narrow 1-0 victory. However, Bibee’s ERA swells to 4.04 on the road, suggesting that this performance might not be as dazzling. Yet, with Cleveland’s robust bullpen to support him, Bibee’s primary task is to keep the game within manageable reach.

Guardians Stats and Insights


  • Bibee (9-3) is going for his 10th win when he takes the mound first for the Guardians in his 21st start of the season. He has a 3.01 ERA in 113 2/3 innings pitched, with 112 strikeouts.
  • In his most recent appearance on Saturday against the Detroit Tigers, the right-hander went five innings, giving up three earned runs while surrendering five hits.
  • Bibee will look to continue a 12-game streak of lasting five or more innings (he’s averaging 5.7 frames per outing).
  • He has made three appearances this season in which he did not give up an earned run.
  • The Guardians are 5-7 in Bibee’s 12 starts this season that they were the moneyline underdog.
  • Bibee’s team has won 11 of his 20 starts.
  • Bibee has had 20 starts that sportsbooks set a total for this season, and eight of those outings hit the over.


  • They are 18-5 this season when they hit two or more home runs in a game.
  • Cleveland has won 17 of its 22 games with five or more extra-base hits this season.
  • In 77 games this season with eight or more hits, they have a record of 40-37.
  • Cleveland has won 35 of its 45 games this season in which it scored more than four runs.
  • They have won 17 of their 29 games this season in which they’ve drawn more than four free passes.

Blue Jays Notes

Following a series against the leading Orioles in the American League, the Toronto Blue Jays are set to return home and continue their quest for a wild-card spot, as a minimum goal. Throughout this season, Toronto’s pitching staff has demonstrated excellence, particularly when playing at home. Taking charge of maintaining this pitching momentum is Chris Bassitt. Although he didn’t face Cleveland a few weeks ago, he enters this game with a reassuring home ERA of 2.83. It’s worth noting that Bassitt has given up home runs in five consecutive starts, a streak that is likely to conclude in this upcoming match. Fortunately, Toronto boasts a formidable bullpen, offering a safety net in case Bassitt faces challenges.

Shifting focus to their offensive prowess, the adjustments in Toronto’s new park dimensions appear to be impacting their batting performance. The Blue Jays tend to score fewer runs at home, displaying a notably reduced batting average and slugging percentage. Nonetheless, their rank sits at a respectable 16th place in runs per game for this season. The batting lineup ranks within the top 10 for batting average, on-base percentage (OBP), and strikeout rate. Despite this, baserunning has been a weak point for the Blue Jays this year, introducing challenges. Nevertheless, apart from this aspect, their overall performance has been relatively error-free. Following a shutout on Wednesday, the Blue Jays anticipate brighter moments in their upcoming games.

Blue Jays Stats and Insights


  • Bassitt and his team are 12-14-0 ATS this season when he starts.
  • The right-hander’s last appearance was on Saturday, when he threw six innings against the Cincinnati Reds, giving up two earned runs while allowing three hits.
  • Bassitt will look to finish five or more innings for the eighth start in a row.
  • He has seven appearances this season with zero earned runs allowed out of his 26 chances this season.
  • Bassitt’s team is 8-7 this season when he starts and they are the moneyline favorite.
  • In games Bassitt has started, his team is 15-11.
  • Games Bassitt has started this season hit the over nine times in 26 chances.


  • The Blue Jays have a 28-12 record in games this season when they hit two or more home runs.
  • Toronto has gone 19-5 in its 24 games this season with at least five extra-base hits.
  • The team has put up eight or more hits in 94 games this season, and is 62-32 in those contests.
  • Toronto is 49-13 in games this season when it scored at least five runs.
  • The Blue Jays are 22-10 in the 32 games this season when they have drawn at least five walks.

Final Thoughts/Pick

In a game that should be close, Cleveland’s ability to weaponize speed is a massive difference-maker. Cleveland starter Tanner Bibee already held Toronto scoreless this month, before Cleveland’s relievers backed him up with more clean frames. A repeat of that performance puts the onus on the Guardians’ offense, as always, to deliver. They scratch a few runs across, and it’s just enough to leave Toronto with a series-opening victory.

Our Pick: Take Guardians and the Money Line

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