Guardians (45-45) at Rangers (52-39) Game Preview | Friday 7/14 8:05 PM

July 14, 2023

Andy Billman

Game 1 of 3 Against the Texas Rangers

3 Things:

1 – Back in Texas 

Baseball is back for the AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians and for the first time in the 2023 season, they are playing in Texas against the Rangers. Aaron Civale, who has the best ERA among Cleveland starters with a 2.56 ERA, will be toeing the mound for the Guards. Civale will be tested as Texas leads MLB in runs scored and in hits. 

2 – Don’t forget about Kwan 

Compared to last season, Steven Kwan is having a relatively quiet 2023, but that does not mean he’s not producing.  On the Guardians, he has the most at-bats in 2023, is first in runs scored, and is second in the team with hits (J-RAM is first). 

3 – Glove me

Can you guess who has the best and worst defensive WAR currently for Cleveland (cue Jeopardy music)? Andres Gimenez has the best WAR at 1.2 and the worst goes to Amed Rosario at -1.1.

Guardians Notes

Before losing to the Royals in the final game of their four-game series at home on Sunday, Cleveland had been on a hot streak, winning three consecutive games and six out of their last eight. The Guardians, with a season record of 45-45, were leading the AL Central by half a game over the Twins. In the game against the Royals, Tyler Freeman, and Andres Gimenez both had two hits, with Gimenez driving in a run, but the rest of the team struggled, going a combined three for 26. Cleveland had a tough time with runners in scoring position, managing to convert only one out of seven opportunities. Despite a solid performance by Shane Bieber on the mound, throwing 6.1 innings and allowing four runs on nine hits without issuing any walks and striking out six, he ended up with the loss (5-6).

Taking the mound for the Guardians in this game is Aaron Civale, who will be making his 10th start of the season. Civale has a record of 3-2 with an impressive 2.56 ERA, a 1.063 WHIP, 16 walks, and 44 strikeouts over 52.2 innings pitched this season. In his last start against the Royals at home last Friday, Civale secured the win by pitching seven scoreless innings, allowing only two hits while striking out nine and not issuing any walks. Over his past three starts, Civale has been solid, recording a 1-0 record, a 2.37 ERA, a 0.74 WHIP, three walks, and 16 strikeouts across 19 innings of work. In his career, Civale has made three previous starts against the Rangers, winning two of them. He has a 1.59 ERA, a 0.647 WHIP, two walks, and 18 strikeouts over 17 innings pitched against them. Notably, Civale has been particularly effective at Globe Life Field, where he has made two career starts, winning both games. In those outings, he has a 1.64 ERA, a 0.636 WHIP, one walk, and 11 strikeouts over 11 innings.

Guardians Stats and Insights


  • Civale (3-2 with a 2.56 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings pitched) gets the start for the Guardians, his 10th of the season.
  • His most recent time out came on Friday against the Kansas City Royals, when the right-hander went seven scoreless innings while allowing two hits.
  • Civale will try to prolong a five-game streak of going five or more innings (he’s averaging 5.8 innings per outing).
  • He has made three appearances this season in which he did not allow an earned run.
  • The Guardians are 1-2 in Civale’s three starts this season they were the underdog on the money line.
  • Civale’s team has a 5-4 record in his starts this season.
  • Civale has started nine contests with a total set by bookmakers this season. The teams have combined to hit the over in four of them.


  • They’ve hit two or more homers in 13 games this season and are 11-2 in those matchups.
  • In 17 games with five or more extra-base hits this season, it has a record of 12-5.
  • They have won 31 of the 54 games in which they’ve collected eight or more hits this season.
  • Cleveland has won 26 of its 31 games this season in which it scored more than four runs.
  • They have won 13 of their 22 games this season in which they’ve drawn more than four free passes.

Rangers Notes

Texas stumbled into the All-Star break, suffering consecutive losses and winning only one out of their last five games and three out of their last 11. Their Sunday afternoon game against the Nationals ended in a drubbing. Prior to the break, the Rangers had a solid record of 52-39 and held a two-game lead over the Astros in the AL West. However, in the game against the Nationals, Texas managed only eight hits, with Josh Jung being the only player to contribute two hits. Adolis Garcia drove in both runs for the Rangers, but their efforts were in vain as the team struggled to capitalize with runners in scoring position, going one for nine in that regard. The loss was credited to Dane Dunning (8-2), who allowed four runs on seven hits, with two walks and four strikeouts over 5.2 innings.

In the upcoming game, Jon Gray will take the mound for Texas, marking his 17th start of the season. Gray enters the contest with a 6-5 record, a 3.29 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP, 30 walks, and 75 strikeouts over 93 innings of work this season. In his most recent start against the Red Sox last Wednesday, Gray suffered a loss after pitching six innings and giving up four runs (three earned) on nine hits, along with three walks and two strikeouts. Over his last three starts, Gray has gone 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA, a 1.53 WHIP, seven walks, and 10 strikeouts in a total of 17 innings. This game will be Gray’s third career start against the Guardians, having previously recorded a 0-1 record with a 4.50 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP, five walks, and four strikeouts over 10 innings pitched against them. Throughout his career, Gray has performed well at Globe Life Field, boasting a 6-4 record with a 3.73 ERA, a 1.117 WHIP, 26 walks, and 92 strikeouts over 94 innings in 13 starts.

Rangers Stats and Insights


  • When Gray starts, his team is 8-8-0 against the spread this season.
  • The right-hander gave up three earned runs in six innings pitched on Wednesday, July 5 in his last outing, a matchup with the Boston Red Sox.
  • Gray has three starts in a row of five innings or more.
  • He has finished two appearances without allowing an earned run in 16 chances this season.
  • Gray’s team has won 30% of his starts when they are favored on the money line (3-7).
  • Gray’s team has won eight of his 16 starts this season.
  • Out of Gray’s 16 starts with a total this season, seven have hit the over.


  • The Rangers have racked up two or more home runs in 43 games this season, and are 31-12 in those contests.
  • Texas has put up at least five extra-base hits in 33 games this season and has gone 21-12 in those outings.
  • The club has put up at least eight hits 78 times this season and has a 53-25 record in those games.
  • Texas is 48-16 in games this season when it put up five or more runs.
  • The Rangers are 21-12 in games this season when they have drawn five or more walks.

Final Thoughts/Pick

Both teams hold the top spot in their respective divisions entering the second half of the season though the margins are rather tenuous. Cleveland was playing good ball before the break, pushing themselves to the .500 mark and past the Twins in the AL Central, helped by their young pitchers. Civale has been solid of late, which is something that the Rangers have lacked lately when it comes to their pitching. Gray has dropped three straight starts and the Rangers have struggled as a whole over the final couple weeks before the All-Star break. Texas has the bats but the pitching is showing cracks of late. Give the slim edge to the Guardians as their hitters should be able to dent the Rangers’ bullpen enough to put this one in the win column.

Our Pick: Take Guardians +120

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