Guardians (72-81) vs Orioles (95-57) Match-Up Preview | 9/21 7:10 PM EST

September 21, 2023

Andy Billman

Game 1 Against the Baltimore Orioles


3 Things Preview For Today’s Game:

1 – Hunter Gaddis 

Even though there’s no official announcement, it is supposed to be Hunter Gaddis starting Thursday night for Cleveland.  He last pitched for the Guardians back on August 29th earning a win against the Twins. 

2 – Latest on Bieber and McKenzie

Shane Bieber will be making his return to the Guardians rotation on Friday against Baltimore, and Triston McKenzie will be making his return on Sunday. 

3 – Thank You Tito 

On Wednesday the 27th against the Reds, the Guardians will be giving away “Thank You Tito” tee shirts for what will be his last game.  Still no official announcement, but the tee shirt giveaway all but confirms the obvious that manager Terry Francona is stepping away after 2023.  


Guardians Notes

Cleveland heads into this game as the second-ranked team in the AL Central, having suffered a series sweep in their previous three-game road encounter against the Royals. In their most recent 6-2 loss, Lucas Giolito took the mound, pitching 5.1 innings and allowing seven hits that resulted in four runs. He managed to strike out six but also walked three batters. Following Giolito’s departure, the Guardians utilized three different pitchers in relief, conceding two additional runs over 2.2 innings. Offensively, the Guardians accumulated eight hits and scored two runs. Josh Naylor stood out with a multi-hit performance, while Gimenez and Myles Straw were responsible for the team’s lone RBIs. It was an arduous defeat for the Guardians, with both their offense and defense falling short of the level required to secure a victory.

The Guardians have yet to disclose their starting pitcher for the first game against the Orioles. Nevertheless, they face a formidable challenge in the Orioles’ offense. It’s possible that they might opt for a starter not currently in their rotation or utilize a reliever in the role of an opener. Regardless of the choice, Cleveland’s starting pitcher is unlikely to last beyond five innings, setting the stage for a bullpen-heavy game.

The Guardians’ batting lineup has struggled throughout the season, as evidenced by their current standing nine games below .500. Jose Ramirez leads the team in several categories, including home runs and on-base percentage, boasting 24 home runs and a slash line of .277/.352/.481 for the season. Josh Naylor tops the team with 93 RBIs, while Steven Kwan leads in hits with 165, maintaining a slash line of .275/.348/.380 over his team-leading 600 at-bats. Andres Gimenez and Will Brennan have also shown decent performance, but beyond these players, Cleveland has seen little to no offensive production.

Guardians Stats and Insights

GUARDIANS PROBABLE PITCHER – Hunter Gaddis/Bullpen Game

GUARDIANS TRENDS

  • The home team has won each of the Guardians’ last seven games.
  • The Guardians have covered the run line in each of their last six games against AL East opponents following a loss.
  • The ‘Inning 1 UNDER 0.5 runs’ market has hit in each of the Guardians’ last four home games.
  • The Guardians have led after 7 innings in each of their last six Thursday night games.

Orioles Notes

Baltimore, currently occupying the top spot in the AL East standings, heads into this game with momentum, having secured victory in their previous three-game series on the road against the Astros. In their most recent contest, a closely-fought 2-1 loss, Kyle Bradish was the starting pitcher, delivering an impressive performance by tossing six shutout innings, permitting just two hits, while recording nine strikeouts and two walks. Subsequently, the game shifted to the bullpen, with Jacob Webb and Shintaro Fujinami contributing holds, but Danny Coulombe suffered the loss in the bottom of the ninth inning. On the offensive front, the Orioles managed six hits and a solitary run. Anthony Santander emerged as the standout performer with multiple hits and an RBI, while Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson both contributed extra-base hits. Overall, it was a challenging defeat for the Orioles, as their offense fell short of securing the win.

In the opening game of this series, the Orioles will entrust right-hander Grayson Rodriguez with the starting role, aiming to establish an early series advantage and solidify their position as the top seed. Rodriguez has put together a respectable season, boasting a 6-4 record, a 4.53 ERA, and a 1.34 WHIP in his outings. In his most recent appearance against the Rays, he excelled, pitching eight shutout innings, allowing only five hits, and striking out seven without issuing a single walk. It is reasonable to anticipate a performance of a similar caliber, albeit perhaps slightly less dominant, from Rodriguez in his upcoming start.

The Orioles’ batting lineup has been one of the most potent in baseball, reflecting their impressive overall record. Adley Rutschman leads the team in hits and on-base percentage, accumulating 150 hits and boasting a slash line of .270/.366/.424 in his team-leading 556 at-bats. Anthony Santander, on the other hand, leads the team in home runs with 27 and RBIs with 85, while Austin Hays maintains the highest average at .281/.328/.458 for the season. Gunnar Henderson and Ryan Mountcastle have also delivered strong performances, but the Orioles are looking for greater consistency from the lower part of their lineup as they enter the crucial month of October.

Orioles Stats and Insights

ORIOLES PROBABLE PITCHER – Grayson Rodriguez

  • Rodriguez’s team is 13-8-0 against the spread in his starts this season.
  • The right-hander allowed five hits in eight scoreless innings pitched against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday.
  • Rodriguez has 16 starts of five or more innings this season in 21 chances. He averages 5.3 innings per outing.
  • He has finished five appearances without allowing an earned run in 21 chances this season.
  • Rodriguez’s team is 6-3 this season when he starts and they are the moneyline favorite.
  • Rodriguez’s team is 13-8 when he starts this season.
  • Games started by Rodriguez have a 15-6-0 record at hitting the over this season.

ORIOLES TRENDS

  • The Orioles have won their last seven road games against American League opponents with losing records.
  • The Orioles have covered the run line in their last six games after a road loss to American League opponents.
  • The Orioles have held the lead after 3 innings in their last four night games against the Guardians.
  • The Orioles have led after 5 innings in their last seven road games against American League opponents with losing records.
  • The ‘Inning 1 OVER 0.5 runs’ market has been successful in the Orioles’ last five games.

Final Thoughts/Pick

Despite the Orioles’ Flaherty going without a win in his last six starts, he’s poised to benefit from a stronger lineup supporting him in this game. The Guardians seem to be playing out the rest of the season with less urgency, while the Orioles are actively pursuing a coveted bye into the divisional round of the AL playoffs. Baltimore’s deep bullpen will likely play a crucial role in this matchup, helping to slow down a Guardians’ lineup that currently ranks just 27th in runs per game in baseball.

Our Pick: Take Orioles and the Run Line

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