Twins at Guardians Preview Game 1 | 7:10 PM. EST. 5/5

May 5, 2023

Andy Billman

Important home series against current first-place Twins

3 Things for the Twins/Guardians series:

1 – Zach Plesac optioned to Triple-A Columbus, Peyton Battenfield starts Game 1

Plesac is heading south to work on his craft as Battenfield gets the start for Game 1.  This is best for Plesac, and hopefully, he regains confidence and becomes consistent on a game-by-game basis.  

As for Battenfield, he has an excellent opportunity to perform in a big spot against the first-place Twins.

2 –  Andres Gimenez

The Last Guardian to hit a home run was Gimenez, and that was last Saturday in Boston, gulp.  The Guardians are last with 17 home runs currently.  In 2022, Cleveland finished 29 out of 30 teams so it is not a surprise they are dragging again in home runs 31 games in, but the power outage combined with the losses make for a craving to see some long balls.

2 –  Guardians/Twins matchup.

Cleveland dominated the Twins going 13-6 against Minnesota in 2022, with multiple memorable wins for the Guards.  That record against Minnesota is a big reason why Cleveland went to the playoffs.   

The Twins come in with the third-best ERA in baseball.  Both teams have similar hit numbers, but the big difference is home runs (MIN – 42, CLE – 17)

Guardians Notes

The Guardians come into this game with a 14-17 record overall and they are coming off another loss on Wednesday. The Guardians scored three runs against the New York Yankees but it wasn’t enough as they lost in extra innings. The Guardians are averaging 3.74 runs while their defense is giving up 4.36 runs per game. The offense is ranked 25th in the league while the defense is ranked 11th. Josh Naylor has hit three home runs and driven in 18 RBIs. On the mound for the Guardians is Peyton Battenfield who sits with an 0-2 record and an ERA of 4.67. In 17.1 innings so far this season he has given nine runs. 

Guards Stats and Insights


  • Battenfield (0-2 with a 4.67 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings pitched) gets the start for the Guardians, his fourth of the season.
  • His last appearance was out of the bullpen on Sunday when the right-hander threw two innings against the Boston Red Sox, surrendering three earned runs while allowing three hits.
  • In four games this season, the 25-year-old has an ERA of 4.67, with 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Opponents are batting .250 against him.
  • Battenfield has recorded one quality start this season.
  • Battenfield will try to pick up his second game of five or more innings pitched this season. He’s averaging 4.3 innings per appearance.


  • The Guardians have hit the second-fewest home runs in baseball this season (17).
  • So far this season, Cleveland has the fourth-lowest slugging percentage in baseball (.353).
  • The Guardians have the 23rd-ranked batting average in the majors (.232).
  • The offense for Cleveland is No. 26 in MLB play, scoring 3.9 runs per game (108 total runs).
  • The Guardians are 21st in MLB with an on-base percentage of .311.

Twins Notes

In their recent games, the Twins have suffered two defeats out of three, with their most recent loss being a 6-4 game against the Chicago White Sox (who are currently 10-21 SU and ranked fourth in AL Central) while playing on the road on Wednesday. Eloy Jimenez’s RBI single in the seventh inning gave Chicago their first series win of the year. During the game, Minnesota’s Louie Varland only lasted for 4.2 innings and allowed four earned runs on seven hits, which included a three-run homer from outfielder Luis Robert Jr. In the losing effort, Twins’ Nick Gordon hit a home run, and shortstop Carlos Correa had two RBI. The White Sox’s pitching staff struck out 12 Minnesota batters, including four by outfielder Trevor Larnach.

Twins Stats and Insights


  • Ober (1-0) gets the starting nod for the Twins, his third this season.
  • His last appearance came on Saturday against the Kansas City Royals, when the righty went 5 2/3 innings, surrendering one earned run while giving up four hits.
  • Opposing hitters have compiled a batting average of just .179 against him this season. He has a 1.59 ERA and 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings over his two appearances.
  • Ober will try to extend a three-game streak of going five or more innings (he’s averaging 5.6 frames per outing).
  • He will face off against a Guardians offense that ranks 26th in MLB with 239 total hits (on a .228 batting average). The squad also slugs a collective .338 (30th in MLB) with 17 total home runs (30th in MLB).


  • The Twins’ 42 home runs rank eighth in Major League Baseball.
  • The offense for Minnesota has a slugging percentage of .401 this season, 16th in MLB.
  • The Twins have a team batting average of just .227 this season, which ranks 27th among MLB teams.
  • Minnesota ranks 12th in the majors with 147 total runs scored this season.
  • The Twins have an OBP of .306 this season, which ranks 24th in MLB.
  • Minnesota ranks just 29th in MLB in strikeouts per game with an average of 9.8 whiffs per contest.

Final Thoughts

Cleveland’s manager Terry Francona has been struggling to find ways to generate offense, as the team ranks 14th in the American League, having scored only 116 runs. Despite being the AL’s leaders in stolen bases, with 37 steals in 44 attempts, the Guardians have the lowest slugging percentage in the majors with .338 and have only struck out 237 times this season, which is the fewest in the AL.

Following Cleveland’s 4-3 walk-off loss against the New York Yankees in 10 innings on Wednesday, Francona expressed his frustration with his team’s offensive performance. He said that the team has had opportunities to add runs but failed to capitalize on them. He added that taking advantage of mistakes is crucial to score runs.

Unfortunately, Cleveland lost two of three games against the Yankees, resulting in their fifth consecutive series loss. After winning a series against the Washington Nationals in mid-April, the Guardians have lost to the Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, Colorado Rockies, Boston Red Sox, and Yankees in their subsequent series.

However, Cleveland had a day off on Thursday, unlike their upcoming opponents, the Twins, who had a challenging game in Chicago that lasted three hours and 37 minutes and went into 12 innings before they finally won 7-3.

Need to get the bats going and fast and win this series!

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