Guardians (53-53) vs. Astros (59-47) Game Preview | 7/31 8:10 PM

July 31, 2023

Andy Billman

Game 1 of 3 Against the Houston Astros


3 Things Preview Guardians vs. Astros:

1 – Thor!

Noah Syndergaard will make his debut Monday night in Houston for the Guardians and he will be up against J.P. France.

2 – Where is Fry?

In a four-game series with the White Sox, David Fry only got one at-bat after hitting a home run in a start on Wednesday against the Royals.  In 74 at-bats, he has one less home run than Will Brennan (290 ABs) and Steven Kwan (425 ABs).  Heck even Oscar Gonzalez has six more at-bats on the season, and Fry is hitting for a .284 average.  Need more Fry!

3 – 8-8

So far 16 games out of the break, Cleveland is 8-8.  They have won three series, one split with the White Sox and one losing series to the Rangers.


Guardians Notes

Guardians have shown a mixed performance in the MLB season. Their offense has produced 192 doubles and 79 home runs, resulting in a slugging percentage of .387. However, they’ve struggled with strikeouts, totaling 714, while managing 303 walks. As a team, they’ve scored an average of 4.2 runs per game, ranking them 23rd in the league. They have driven in 408 runs and recorded 896 base hits, leading to a team batting average of .254. Additionally, they’ve scored 434 runs and maintained a team on-base percentage of .317.

On the pitching side, the Guardians’ staff has shown promise with a 2.59 K/BB ratio and a 1.26 WHIP. However, they have given up 104 home runs and 425 runs, ranking 6th in the MLB for runs allowed. The team’s earned run average stands at 3.84, placing them 7th in baseball. The pitchers have struck out 823 batters while issuing 318 walks, resulting in a team FIP of 4.10.

The Guardians’ bullpen has been involved in 128 high-leverage situations and has accumulated 58 holds, ranking 13th in the league. They’ve recorded a save percentage of 59.6% in 114 save situations, achieving 31 saves but blowing 21 opportunities to save the game. The relievers have inherited 119 runners, with 23.5% of them scoring. Over the course of the season, the team has used 337 relief pitchers.

Defensively, the Guardians have made 2,773 putouts, 934 assists, and committed 48 errors, resulting in a fielding percentage of .987, which ranks 10th in MLB. They’ve turned a total of 70 double plays and have successfully converted 70.4% of balls hit into play into outs during their 8,319 innings on the field, placing them 6th in baseball.

Now, Noah Syndergaard, who joined Cleveland in a trade with the Dodgers that involved sending Amed Rosario to Los Angeles, will make his 13th start of the season and his debut for Cleveland. He hasn’t had the best season so far, with a 1-4 record and a 7.16 ERA, accompanied by a 1.446 WHIP, nine walks, and 38 strikeouts over 55.1 innings of work.

In his most recent start against the Reds on June 7, Syndergaard didn’t receive a decision as the Dodgers fell 8-6. He pitched three innings, giving up six runs on seven hits, with no walks and three strikeouts. Over his last three starts, Syndergaard has struggled, recording an 0-1 record with a 10.93 ERA, a 1.79 WHIP, three walks, and eight strikeouts across 14 innings.

In the upcoming game, Syndergaard will be making his third career start against the Astros. He currently holds a 1-0 record against them, with a 2.89 ERA, a 1.179 WHIP, six walks, and four strikeouts over 9.1 innings of play.

Guardians Stats and Insights

GUARDIANS PROBABLE PITCHER – Noah Syndergaard

  • Syndergaard gets the start for the Guardians, his 13th of the season. He is 1-4 with a 7.16 ERA and 38 strikeouts through 55 1/3 innings pitched.
  • The right-hander last pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, June 7, when he threw three innings against the Cincinnati Reds, allowing six earned runs while giving up seven hits.
  • Syndergaard has pitched five or more innings in a game seven times this year entering this outing.
  • He has had one appearance this season in which he did not allow an earned run.
  • The Guardians were the underdog on the money line for three Syndergaard starts this season — they lost all of the games.
  • In Syndergaard’s 12 starts, his team is 4-8.
  • Syndergaard’s starts went over the run total eight times in 12 games with a set total this season.

GUARDIANS HITTING TRENDS

  • 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 won 37 of the 67 games in which they’ve collected eight or more hits this season.
  • In 41 games this season with five or more runs scored, it has posted a record of 33-8.
  • They have won 15 of their 24 games this season in which they’ve drawn more than four free passes.

Astros Notes

The Houston Astros have displayed solid offensive performance this year, boasting a team on-base percentage (OBP) of .318 and a team batting average of .248. They have encountered 808 strikeout situations (27th in MLB) but managed to secure 864 hits, including 129 home runs and 467 RBIs. Their team slugging percentage stands at .412, contributing to an average of 4.70 runs per game (12th in MLB). Additionally, they have shown good plate discipline with 171 doubles and 330 walks, resulting in 484 runs.

On the pitching side, the Astros have maintained a team WHIP of 1.275 and a FIP of 4.18 this season. Their strikeout-to-walk ratio is impressive at 9.20 (945 strikeouts against 332 walks). While they have allowed 841 hits (14th in baseball) and 121 home runs, their runs allowed per 9 innings stand at 4.25 (8th in baseball). The Houston pitching staff has yielded 435 runs in total with an ERA of 3.81 (390 earned runs relinquished).

In terms of bullpen performance, the Astros have faced 107 save situations and managed to convert 32 saves while tallying 58 holds and 16 blown saves. They have relied on their bullpen in 48 save opportunities, and the relievers have shown up 108 times in high-leverage situations and 61 times with runners on base. The relievers have inherited 99 runners, with a scoring rate of 33.3%. The team ranks 9th in baseball with a save percentage of 66.7%. In total, 327 relievers have been used by the Astros throughout the season.

Defensively, the Houston Astros have turned 94 double plays and maintained a fielding rate of .986 (15th in MLB). They have accumulated 877 assists, committed 51 errors, and recorded 2,762 putouts during the year. Over 8,286 innings on the field, their efficiency on defense stands at 69.1% (16th in MLB).

Starting on the mound for the Astros is J.P. France, making his 15th start of the season in this game. With a solid record of 6-3, he boasts an impressive 2.87 ERA, a 1.217 WHIP, 24 walks, and 58 strikeouts over 84.2 innings of work this year. In his most recent outing against the Rangers at home on Tuesday night, France secured the win after pitching seven innings, conceding just one unearned run on five hits. He showcased his control with only two walks while striking out three batters in a thrilling 4-3 victory for Houston.

Over his last three starts, France has been on top of his game, going 2-0 with an outstanding 1.47 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP, three walks, and 10 strikeouts across 18.1 innings of work. In his previous encounter with the Guardians, which took place on the road on June 10, he proved victorious, guiding the Astros to a 6-4 win. During that game, France pitched 6.2 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out six batters, but he also issued six walks.

When playing at Minute Maid Park, France holds a respectable record of 2-1, accompanied by a 3.96 ERA, a 1.211 WHIP, 10 walks, and 23 strikeouts over 36.1 innings pitched in his six career starts at the stadium.

Astros Stats and Insights

ASTROS PROBABLE PITCHER – JP France

  • When France starts, his team is 7-7-0 against the spread this season.
  • The right-hander last pitched on Wednesday, when he gave up no earned runs and allowed five hits in seven innings against the Texas Rangers.
  • France has two starts in a row of five innings or more.
  • He has finished three appearances without allowing an earned run in 14 chances this season.
  • When France starts a game and his team is the favorite on the money line, they have a record of 6-5.
  • France’s team is 8-6 when he starts this season.
  • In games France has started this season, the teams are 7-7-0 at hitting the over.

ASTROS HITTING TRENDS

  • The Astros have a 25-9 record in games this season when they hit two or more home runs.
  • Houston is 16-5 in games this season when it has had five or more extra-base hits.
  • The team is 56-16 in the games this season it has put up eight or more hits.
  • Houston is 50-9 in games this season when it put up at least five runs.
  • The Astros are 24-7 in games this season when they have drawn at least five walks.

Final Thoughts/Pick

Cleveland is in dire need of boosting their offense before the trade deadline to have a chance at securing a spot in the postseason for the final two months of the season. Their upcoming game sees Syndergaard taking the mound, but given his struggles at the big league level this season and the fact that he hasn’t pitched in the majors for nearly two months, confidence in his performance is low. This situation adds to the challenges faced by the Guardians. On the other hand, Houston displayed a strong offensive performance in their recent victory, and France, their rookie pitcher, has been impressive so far, even securing a road win against Cleveland earlier this season. With the Astros playing at home and carrying momentum, it seems favorable to support them as they kick off the series on a positive note.

Our Pick: Astros

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