Tuesday's Diamond Notes
May 15, 2018
By Kevin Rogers
Hottest team: Nationals (13-2 last 15)
Washington has overcome an 11-16 start of the season as the Nationals are coming off a successful 6-1 west coast swing. The Nats swept the Diamondbacks in Phoenix, while limiting Arizona to seven runs in four games. Washington has captured four consecutive series in spite of star outfielder Bryce Harper going 4-of-30 in his last seven games with only one home run.
The premiere showdown on Tuesday night takes place in D.C. as the Nationals host the Yankees in interleague action. Gio Gonzalez heads to the mound for the Nationals, as the southpaw has pitched well of late by allowing two earned runs in his past three outings (18 innings). Washington has won each of Gonzalez’s last two home starts, while the UNDER in 6-1 in his past seven outings overall. Gonzalez is dealing with a Yankees’ squad that owns a 19-3 record in its last 22 games, including a 6-1 mark on the road.
Coldest team: Mets (2-9 last 11)
It seems like a century ago that New York began the season at 12-2, as the Mets head into Tuesday’s action compiling a 7-16 record the past 23 games. In this stretch, New York has played in eight series and won only one, beating San Diego in two of three games in late April. The offense has dried up of late by scoring a total of eight runs in the past four games, which includes three runs in a ninth inning rally in a victory at Philadelphia last Friday.
The Mets host the Blue Jays in an interleague set at Citi Field as Noah Syndergaard takes the hill. Syndergaard is winless in his last three starts for New York, but he is coming off three consecutive one-run defeats, capped off by two losses as a favorite of -180 or higher. Syndergaard owns a solid 3.09 ERA with 54 strikeouts compared to 10 walks, but the Mets have compiled a 1-8 record in the last nine home games.
Hottest pitcher: Gerrit Cole, Astros (4-1, 1.43 ERA)
Several pitchers are putting together spectacular starts, but probably none better than Cole. After struggling to a 12-12 record and 4.26 ERA in his final season with the Pirates, Cole owns a miniscule 1.43 ERA in eight starts as a member of the Astros in 2018. Houston has won seven of his eight starts this season with the only loss coming to the Angels on April 23. Cole gets another shot at facing Los Angeles tonight as the right-hander is unbeaten in four road starts to go along with a 0.62 ERA away from Minute Maid Park.
Coldest pitcher: Yu Darvish, Cubs (0-3, 6.00 ERA)
Darvish was expected to be a key contributor to the Chicago rotation after helping the Dodgers to the World Series last season. However, the veteran right-hander has allowed at least four earned runs in four of six starts this season, while not lasting past the fifth inning in any of those outings. Darvish is making his first start since an 11-2 home loss to Colorado on May 2, as the Cubs own a 2-1 record in this three road appearances. The Cubs travel to Atlanta to face a hot Braves’ squad that won at Wrigley Field on Monday in a make-up game.
Biggest OVER run: Tigers (5-1-1 last seven)
Detroit’s lineup is built around slugger Miguel Cabrera, but the former Triple Crown winner has been sidelined since early May. The young Tigers’ roster is finding ways to score runs without Cabrera as Detroit has not only won three of its last four games against Seattle and Cleveland, but it has plated 16 runs in the past three contests. Francisco Liriano heads to the mound for Detroit in Tuesday’s matchup with Cleveland, as the southpaw scattered three hits and allowed two earned runs in six innings of a 2-0 defeat to the Indians last month.
Biggest UNDER run: Astros (9-1 last 10)
Houston may be in line for another UNDER with Gerrit Cole on the mound tonight, as the Astros held the Angels to two runs on Monday. However, the defending champions couldn’t get much offense going off Angels’ southpaw Andrew Heaney in a 2-1 defeat to end Houston’s short two-game winning streak. The loaded Astros’ rotation has allowed an amazing two runs or fewer in seven consecutive games, while the only OVER in this stretch came thanks to a 16-run outburst at Oakland on May 7.
Matchup to watch: Brewers vs. Diamondbacks
Arizona still sits atop the NL West in spite of hitting the skids of late. The Diamondbacks have dropped six consecutive games, including five straight at home after getting swept by the Nationals this past weekend and Monday’s 7-2 defeat to the Brewers. Arizona’s offense has been non-existent in this cold streak by scoring two runs or less in four of the past five games, while facing a right-handed starter in each of those contests.
The D-backs will see another righty tonight as Jhoulys Chacin heads to the hill for Milwaukee. The Brewers have jumped out to a 4-1 record on their road trip after grabbing three of four at Colorado last weekend. Chacin has turned into a fantastic addition to the rotation as Milwaukee owns a 5-0 record in his past five starts, while the Brewers have scored at least five runs in each of those victories.
Arizona sends out its ace tonight looking to stop the bleeding as Zack Greinke seeks his fourth victory of the season. The former Cy Young winner picked up a no-decision in a 2-1 loss to Washington last Thursday, but scattered four hits and allowed one earned run in seven innings of work. Greinke has been lights out at Chase Field this season by compiling a 1.72 ERA in five home starts, while the D-backs own a 3-2 record in those games.
Betcha didn’t know: After beginning the season at 0-8 in series openers, the Rangers have responded with a 4-1 record in their past five Game 1’s. The latest victory came in last Friday’s 1-0 triumph at Houston as heavy +230 underdogs. Texas travels to Seattle to face a Mariners’ team coming off a win in a make-up game at Minnesota on Monday. The Rangers tallied only three runs in their three-game set at Houston, as Mike Minor heads to the mound tonight. Texas has fared well in Minor’s limited work on the road by compiling a 2-0 record, including wins at underdog prices of +140 at Toronto and +210 at Houston.
Biggest public favorite: Astros (-180) at Angels
Biggest public underdog: Nationals (+105) vs. Yankees
Biggest line move: Padres (+115 to -105) vs. Rockies
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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