Guardians (74-82) vs. Orioles (96-59) Game Preview | 9/24 1:40 PM EST

September 24, 2023

Andy Billman

Series Finale Against the Baltimore Orioles

3 Things Preview For Today’s Game:

1 – Welcome Back!

Triston McKenzie is returning to rotation and starting for the first time since June 10th.  McKenzie has only made two starts in 2023.

2 – Under .500

With the loss last night to the Orioles, the Guardians are guaranteed to finish below .500 in 2023.

3 – 62

The Guardians have played 62 one-run games in 2023, going 30-32 in 2023.  Last season, the Guardians only played 45 one-run games and went 28-17.

Guardians Notes

Even though Cleveland managed to secure victories in the first two games of this series, it proved insufficient in stalling the inevitable. The 2022 AL Central title could not be defended, and Cleveland now finds itself on the outside looking in, missing out on the playoffs. The team, as a whole, shoulders this burden, but the glaring weakness resides in their offensive performance. Cleveland currently resides at the bottom of the league in both hard-hit rate and home runs, a troubling trend that persisted from the previous year. Addressing this issue should be the top priority during the upcoming offseason. Furthermore, the team struggles to draw walks, leading to a team batting average of .251 (ranked 14th) but only a .314 OBP (ranked 22nd). Despite possessing the MLB’s lowest strikeout rate and ranking 5th in stolen bases, highlighting their speed and contact prowess, they still sit at 27th in runs per game. Perhaps it’s time for the offense to undergo a transformation.

On the pitching front, Cleveland’s staff has hit a rough patch recently, surrendering six or more runs in four of their last five games. This stands in stark contrast to their overall performance for the season, where they consistently ranked among the top 10 in run prevention and allowed the second-fewest home runs as a team. In the second half of the season, new pitching additions have stepped up admirably, and this trend may continue on Sunday with the starting pitcher still undecided. Cleveland’s bullpen ranks 10th in ERA and 11th in FIP, demonstrating their capability to hold their own during extended innings. The exact number of innings they will be tasked with remains uncertain, but their reliability is unquestionable.

Guardians Stats and Insights


  • The Guardians will look to McKenzie (0-1) to open the game and make his third start this season.
  • His most recent appearance was on Saturday, June 10 against the Houston Astros, when the righty threw five innings, surrendering five earned runs while giving up seven hits.
  • McKenzie enters this matchup with two outings of five or more innings pitched this campaign.
  • He has had one outing this season in which he held his opponents to zero earned runs.
  • The Guardians were named the moneyline underdog for one McKenzie start this season — they won.
  • His team split the two matchups he’s made an appearance in this season.
  • McKenzie’s two starts with a total this season finished 1-1-0 against the total.


  • They’ve hit two or more homers in 29 games this season and are 21-8 in those matchups.
  • Cleveland has gone 21-7 this season when collecting five or more extra-base hits as a team.
  • They have won 51 of the 97 games in which they’ve collected eight or more hits this season.
  • Cleveland has won 44 of its 59 games this season in which it scored more than four runs.
  • They have won 21 of their 39 games this season in which they’ve drawn more than four free passes.

Orioles Notes

On Friday night, Baltimore suffered its third consecutive loss, a setback that came at a critical juncture when they had the opportunity to make up ground on the Rays. Unfortunately, it now appears increasingly likely that the coveted AL East championship, and consequently, the best record in the Junior Circuit, will be decided during the upcoming final weekend. Each victory for the Orioles is pivotal in their pursuit, and on Sunday, Kyle Gibson will take the mound in an attempt to secure another one. Back in May, when he faced Cleveland, Gibson yielded three runs and allowed seven hits over 5.2 innings pitched. It’s worth noting that Gibson has given up at least three runs in seven of his last eight starts. Furthermore, with the absence of All-Star closer Felix Bautista, the bullpen finds itself thinner than usual. Can Gibson step up to help mitigate his absence?

The Orioles’ offense showed signs of life on Friday, breaking free from a two-game slump and scoring a total of eight runs. Historically, September has been a favorable month for the Orioles, as they rank fourth in runs per game (5.86) for this period. Their offensive prowess extends beyond just drawing walks, as Baltimore excels in various aspects of the game. They have an impressive 106 stolen bases with an 83% success rate, which ranks fifth in the league. The Orioles boast a batting average of .257 (6th), a slugging percentage of .428 (9th), and have hit 180 home runs. Additionally, Baltimore’s lineup ranks 13th in strikeout rate. The overall result is a team that holds the sixth-best scoring average for the season, a performance that has secured their spot in the postseason, at the very least.

Orioles Stats and Insights


  • Gibson and his team have a record of 21-10-0 against the spread when he starts.
  • The right-hander’s last start was on Wednesday when he tossed 4 2/3 innings while giving up three earned runs on five hits in a matchup with the Houston Astros.
  • Gibson has made 26 starts of five or more innings in 31 chances this season and averages 5.8 frames when he pitches.
  • He has one appearance with no earned runs allowed in 31 chances this season.
  • Gibson’s team has been victorious in 64.3% of the games he’s started as the moneyline favorite with a record of 9-5.
  • Gibson’s team has won 18 of his 31 starts this season.
  • Games started by Gibson have a 17-14-0 record at hitting the over this season.


  • The Orioles are 43-14 this season in games when they crush two or more bombs.
  • Baltimore has gone 37-3 in its 40 games this season with at least five extra-base hits.
  • The team has strung together eight or more hits 101 times this season and has a 73-28 record in those games.
  • Baltimore is 75-12 in games this season when it scored five or more runs.
  • The Orioles are 29-9 in games this season when they have drawn at least five walks.

Final Thoughts/Pick

Cleveland’s offense has been impressively competitive this month, minus Saturday’s game, averaging 4.52 runs per game. Combined with their strong season-long pitching performance, particularly at home with a 3.61 ERA, this provides a winning formula for consistent success. In their previous encounter in May, the Guardians managed to score three runs against Kyle Gibson and secured victory in four out of their first five meetings with Baltimore. It’s safe to anticipate that they will maintain their dominance in the season series, especially when playing on their home turf.

The uncertainty surrounding their pitching strategy should not raise concerns, as their makeshift plans have generally yielded positive results. Cleveland’s bullpen is more than capable of going toe-to-toe with Baltimore’s, and any starting pitcher they send out can hold their own against an opponent with a 5.00 ERA. As has been the case throughout the season, the Guardians’ offense remains the key factor, and this time, they are poised to deliver a strong performance.

Our Pick: Take Orioles and the Money Line

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