Guardians (65-70) vs. Rays (82-53) Match-Up Preview | 9/2 6:10 PM EST

September 2, 2023

Andy Billman

Game 2 of 3 Against the Tampa Bay Rays

3 Things Preview For Tonight’s Game:

1 – Lefty Logan

Logan Allen is on the bump Saturday night for the Guards.  When he keeps the ball in the yard, Allen wins, and when he gives up a home run, it ends in a loss.  In his last eight starts, he has three wins with zero home runs given up in those starts and five losses with at least one home run given up in each loss.

2 – Arias

Gabriel Arias is on a hot streak right now with six hits in his last 14 at-bats, four doubles, and two RBIs. 

3 – Roster Moves

Multiple moves by the Guardians were made on Friday.  David Fry is back off the IL and the Guards also called up Jose Tena from triple-a Columbus.  Hunter Gaddis and Cody Morris were sent back down. 

Rosters can now be at 28 and there will need to be an additional move made on Monday when Lucas Giolito pitches and is officially on the roster.

Guardians Notes

Cleveland is set to face Tampa Bay after securing back-to-back series victories against Toronto and Minnesota, bringing them within striking distance of the Twins in the division standings. What does Cleveland need to do in order to surpass Minnesota and claim the AL Central championship?

The Guardians are currently averaging 4.07 runs per game, ranking 26th in the league, and they have a batting average of .248, which places them 16th, with a .691 OPS ranking 26th. They have hit 103 home runs, the fewest in the league (30th), but have been successful in stealing 112 bases, which is the 7th highest in the league this season. On the pitching front, the Cleveland staff has performed admirably with a 3.85 ERA, putting them in 5th place, and a 1.28 WHIP, which ranks 16th. They have also managed 48 quality starts, placing them 13th in the league.

On Saturday at Progressive Field, Allen will take the mound for the home team. The rookie left-handed pitcher had a tough outing in his last appearance against Toronto, giving up five runs in four innings. However, he displayed a much-improved performance in his other four starts in August, allowing only five runs over 23 innings. Saturday’s game will mark Allen’s first encounter with the Rays in the 2023 season.

Guardians Stats and Insights


  • Allen (6-7) gets the starting nod for the Guardians in his 21st start of the season. He has a 3.61 ERA in 107 1/3 innings pitched, with 102 strikeouts.
  • In his most recent appearance on Saturday, the lefty threw four innings against the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing five earned runs while surrendering six hits.
  • Allen enters the game with 15 outings of five or more innings pitched this campaign.
  • In five of his appearances this season he did not give up an earned run.
  • The Guardians have been the moneyline underdog in 11 of Allen’s starts this season, and they went 7-4 in those games.
  • Allen’s team has won 12 of his 20 starts.
  • Allen’s starts went over the run total seven times in 20 games with a set total this season.


  • They are 20-6 this season when they hit two or more home runs in a game.
  • Cleveland has gone 19-6 this season when collecting five or more extra-base hits as a team.
  • They have a record of 44-37 this season when collecting eight or more base hits in a game.
  • In 49 games this season with five or more runs scored, it has posted a record of 38-11.
  • They have won 18 of their 30 games this season in which they’ve drawn more than four free passes.

Rays Notes

Tampa Bay has been on an impressive run lately, securing victories in eight of its last ten games before heading into a weekend series against Cleveland. During this stretch, they claimed series wins over the Rockies, Yankees, and Marlins. Despite their strong performance, they are still in pursuit of Baltimore in the AL East standings, raising the question of whether they might have to settle for a Wild Card spot.

The Rays’ offensive prowess is evident, as they average 5.36 runs per game (ranking 4th) while maintaining a batting average of .260 (5th) and an impressive .779 OPS (4th). They’ve also flexed their power, hitting 194 home runs (4th) and showcasing their speed with 141 stolen bases (2nd) in the 2023 season. On the pitching front, Tampa Bay’s staff has excelled with a 3.83 ERA (4th) and a 1.18 WHIP (2nd), backed by 44 quality starts (17th).

Taking the mound for the visiting team in the Saturday matchup against Cleveland will be Littell. In his recent outing, he surrendered four runs, including three home runs, over six innings against the New York Yankees. Prior to that, he allowed four runs in his previous start against Colorado. Interestingly, Littell has demonstrated better pitching performance on the road this season, boasting a 2.97 ERA in away games (12 appearances) compared to a 6.04 ERA at home (10 appearances) at Tropicana Field.

Rays Stats and Insights


  • Littell’s team is 5-4-0 against the spread in his starts this season.
  • The right-hander gave up four earned runs in six innings pitched on Sunday in his last outing, a matchup with the New York Yankees.
  • Littell will look to finish five or more innings for the seventh start in a row.
  • He has finished seven appearances without allowing an earned run in 22 chances this season.
  • Littell’s team is 3-2 this season when he starts and they are the moneyline favorite.
  • In games Littell has started, his team is 5-4.
  • Games Littell has started this season hit the over four times in nine chances.


  • The Rays have hit two or more round-trippers in 59 games this season, and are 44-15 in those outings.
  • Tampa Bay has racked up at least five extra-base hits in 33 games this season and has gone 30-3 in those outings.
  • The club is 62-28 in the games this season it has racked up at least eight hits.
  • Tampa Bay has a 61-19 record in games this season when it put up five or more runs.
  • The Rays are 24-8 in games this season when they have drawn five or more walks.

Final Thoughts/Pick

In 2023, Cleveland managed to maintain a winning record (12-11 SU) when playing as underdogs with a money line at home. This accomplishment is shared by only six teams in the MLB, showcasing their ability to defy expectations. Although they face a formidable opponent in Tampa Bay tomorrow, there’s a legitimate chance they can emerge victorious.

The Guardians have been flying under the radar despite their recent success, winning back-to-back series against the division-leading Twins and the Blue Jays, who are in contention for a wild-card spot. While they may not be the frontrunners to win the Central division at the moment, a few more victories could easily change that perception. Allen, despite his impressive performance, appears to be undervalued, and he likely shares this sentiment with his teammates.

At just 24 years old, Allen has demonstrated a level of maturity and skill that belies his rookie status in the big leagues. He’s determined to prove himself once again against the formidable Rays lineup. While some may doubt him, I’m putting my faith in this left-handed pitcher to deliver. His consistency throughout the season, boasting a 3.70 ERA at home and a 3.51 ERA on the road, is commendable. Additionally, his recent string of strong performances in August speaks volumes about his capabilities. Although the Blue Jays managed to find some success against him in their second encounter within three weeks, Allen’s overall performance remains impressive, allowing no more than two runs in any of his appearances last month.

On the other hand, Rays starter Littell has struggled in his previous starts, conceding four runs in each. His recent track record includes surrendering six home runs in his last four outings, with at least one homer given up in every game. Transitioning from a bullpen role earlier in the season, he might be struggling with the increased workload as Saturday’s game marks his seventh consecutive start. I am confident that we will witness more vulnerabilities in his performance when he faces off against the Guardians.

Our Pick: Take Guardians and the ML

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