Thursday's Diamond Notes
May 10, 2018
By Kevin Rogers
Hottest team: Yankees (17-1 last 18)
On April 20, the Yankees lost at home to the Blue Jays to slip to 9-9 on the season. Although it was extremely early, the finger was on the panic button because it’s New York. However, the Yankees caught fire by beginning an incredible run which has not only turned into a 17-1 record the past 18 games, but also sitting all alone in first place atop the AL East.
The Bronx Bombers edged the Red Sox in the series opener, 3-2 on Tuesday, but provided plenty of drama in Game 2. The two rivals went through five lead changes on Wednesday as the Yankees kept their hot streak alive in a 9-6 victory as Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge delivered huge hits in the eighth inning off Boston closer Craig Kimbrel.
The Yankees seek their fourth sweep in the last five series as CC Sabathia takes the mound in the finale. Sabathia has allowed only one earned run in his four trips to the mound, as New York owns a perfect 4-0 record in this stretch. The veteran southpaw owned the Red Sox last season with New York winning all four of his starts, while Sabathia yielded three earned runs in 26 innings.
Coldest team: Marlins (2-5 last seven)
Miami closed out April by winning six of seven games and seemed headed in a positive direction. However, the Marlins have gone backwards of late, capped by off a three-game sweep at the hands of the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Marlins fell short in a 4-3 loss on Tuesday, but that was sandwiched by a pair of blowout defeats in which Miami was outscored, 27-6 by Chicago.
The Marlins return home to battle the Braves, who have won seven consecutive road games. Miami has struggled in series openers this season by posting a 2-10 record, but both victories have come at home. Left-hander Caleb Smith has been the most reliable starter for the Marlins recently by not allowing a run in his last two starts, while putting together a terrific 26/2 strikeout to walk ratio in his past three outings.
Hottest pitcher: Walker Buehler, Dodgers (2-0, 1.13 ERA)
Who needs Clayton Kershaw when you have Walker Buehler? Maybe that’s a stretch, but Buehler tossed six innings to help contribute to a no-hitter against the Padres in Mexico last Friday. In three starts this season, Buehler has given up two earned run in 16 innings of work as he faces the Reds tonight. The Dodgers look to improve on a 2-4 record in home series openers on the season, while attempting to extend their winning streak over the Reds to nine games dating back to 2016.
Coldest pitcher: Mike Leake, Mariners (3-3, 6.28 ERA)
The hottest pitcher in baseball is James Paxton, who has posted a 16-strikeout performance and a no-hitter in his last two starts. However, one of Paxton’s teammates in Seattle has gone in the opposite direction of late. Leake has yielded 20 earned runs in his last four starts (20.1 innings), while the Mariners have lost three times in this stretch. Seattle picked up a victory as a +200 underdog at Cleveland in Leake’s last road start, as the Mariners finish up their series at Toronto.
Biggest OVER run: Phillies (4-2 last six)
Philadelphia’s offense has busted out in this series against San Francisco, posting 11-run efforts in two of the three victories. The Phillies seek the sweep of the Giants this afternoon, as the 11 runs scored last night eclipsed the 10 runs plated in last weekend’s three-game series against the Nationals. Vince Velasquez takes the mound in the finale as the Phillies own a 5-2 mark to the OVER in his seven starts.
Biggest UNDER run: Rockies (11-2 last 13)
For the exception of a pair of high-scoring games earlier this month against the Cubs and Mets, the Rockies have seen seven of their last 10 contests have a combined six runs or less. The Angels shut out Colorado on Wednesday, marking the seventh time in 10 games that the Rockies have scored three runs or less. German Marquez heads to the mound in the opener for Colorado tonight against Milwaukee as the right-hander has allowed three earned runs in his last two starts. After finishing last season on a six-game UNDER streak at Coors Field, Marquez has seen the OVER hit in two of three home starts in 2018.
Matchup to watch: Nationals vs. Diamondbacks
Washington and Arizona hook up for a series for the second time in three weekends, beginning a four-game set at Chase Field. The Nationals travel to Phoenix following a 2-1 loss at San Diego on Wednesday, preventing Washington’s first road sweep since the season opening series at Cincinnati. Arizona also fell short last night by dropping a 6-3 decision at Los Angeles, only the fourth loss in 12 matchups with the Dodgers this season.
Zack Greinke heads to the mound in the series opener as the D-backs have won each of his last three home starts against the Giants, Dodgers, and Astros. In his previous outing against Houston last Saturday, Greinke scattered five hits and allowed one earned run in 5.2 innings in a 4-3 win.
Tanner Roark counters for Washington, as the Nationals have dropped five of his past six starts. The right-hander hasn’t been the reason for this lack of success as Roark has delivered quality outings in four of his last five trips to the mound, but Washington has scored three runs or less four times.
In their last series at Nationals Park in late April, the Diamondbacks grabbed two of three meetings, including a pair of one-run victories. Washington captured the series finale in a 3-1 win on April 29 to avoid the sweep, as the UNDER went 2-1 in the series.
Betcha didn’t know: The Padres own a dreadful 0-6 record at Petco Park this season in series openers (0-7 when listed as the home team). San Diego hosts St. Louis, who has dropped four consecutive road games, but send out Miles Mikolas to the mound, who has tossed seven innings four straight outings.
Biggest public favorite: Dodgers (-170) vs. Reds
Biggest public underdog: Brewers (+135) at Rockies
Biggest line move: Red Sox (+135 to +120) at Yankees
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at email@example.com
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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