Friday's Diamond Notes
September 14, 2018
By Kevin Rogers
Hottest team: Brewers (11-3 last 14)
Milwaukee is coming off an important road series win at Chicago by taking two of three against the Cubs. The Brewers pulled to within one game of first place on Wednesday, but dropped a half-game on Thursday as the Cubs knocked off the Nationals in extra innings of a make-up contest in D.C. Milwaukee has captured seven consecutive series victories, while the series opener six times in this stretch.
The Brew Crew returns to Miller Park this weekend as Milwaukee welcomes in Pittsburgh. The Brewers grabbed two of three from the Pirates last month at home as southpaw Gio Gonzalez makes his second start for Milwaukee since getting traded from Washington earlier this month. Gonzalez beat the Giants in his Milwaukee debut by allowing one run and three hits in 5.2 innings of a 4-3 victory. Gonzalez lost to Pittsburgh earlier this season as a member of the Nationals in a 2-0 defeat in spite of tossing six innings and scattering six hits.
Coldest team: Phillies (2-9 last 11)
San Francisco currently has the longest losing streak in baseball at 11, but since the Giants are out of the playoff race, we’ll focus on the Phillies. There hasn’t been much fight in Philadelphia lately as the Phillies have slipped out of first place in the NL East and are six games out of a Wild Card spot with two weeks remaining. The Phillies have stunk at home during this stretch by losing nine of their past 11 at Citizens Bank Park, including getting swept by the Nationals this week.
Philadelphia will try to get its act together tonight as Miami invades the City of Brotherly Love. The Marlins have dropped five of six games on its current road trip that started in Pittsburgh and New York. Zack Eflin tries to stop the bleeding for the Phillies as the right-hander is winless in his last four starts, but beat the Marlins at home last month by tossing eight innings in an 8-3 rout.
Hottest pitcher: Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees (11-5, 3.61 ERA)
New York went from undoubtedly hosting a Wild Card game to now maybe traveling to the Oakland Coliseum for its do-or-die game in October. The Yankees and Athletics are on a collision course to meet in the Wild Card game, but New York owns a 1 ½-game edge heading into tonight’s action. Tanaka has been outstanding of late by allowing one run in his last two starts, while striking out 10 in eight scoreless innings of a 4-0 shutout of Seattle his last time out. The Yankees host the Blue Jays as heavy home favorites tonight as Tanaka is 3-1 in his past four starts against Toronto, including a victory in the opening series of the season.
Coldest pitcher: Tyler Anderson, Rockies (6-8, 4.89 ERA)
Colorado still sits atop the NL West following a series victory over Arizona as the Rockies hope to not get tripped up tonight in San Francisco. Anderson has not been reliable of late as the southpaw hasn’t won since July 4 against the Giants when he strung together eight innings of two-hit ball. The Rockies are 1-8 in his last nine trips to the mound, while allowing 25 earned runs in his past five starts. Colorado won seven of Anderson’s first 10 road starts of the season, but the Rockies are 0-3 in his past three outings away from Coors Field.
Biggest OVER run: Athletics (9-3 last 12)
Oakland remains on the east coast after failing to pull off a sweep of Baltimore. The A’s travel to Tampa Bay to square off with a red-hot Rays’ squad that has won 13 of its past 14 games at Tropicana Field. Oakland’s six-game winning streak came to a halt on Thursday as the A’s were limited to less than six runs for the third time in 12 games. Edwin Jackson gets the start against his former team tonight as the A’s have hit the OVER in each of his past two outings. However, the A’s are 4-0-2 to the UNDER in his six road starts this season.
Biggest UNDER run: Angels (8-3 last 11)
The Angels’ offense has dried up of late by scoring two runs or fewer in four of the last five games, while splitting the first four games on their homestand. The Mariners limited the Angels to two runs in last night’s 8-2 blowout, while ending Los Angeles’ four-game UNDER streak. The Angels have won each of Matt Shoemaker’s last two starts since getting activated off the disabled list, while the right-hander makes his first home start of the season. Four of Shoemaker’s past six starts against the Mariners have cashed the OVER since 2016, including two OVERS last season.
Matchup to watch: Diamondbacks vs. Astros
Houston is seeking consecutive World Series titles as the Astros on the doorstep of clinching a playoff spot. The Astros are rolling of late by winning nine of their past 10 games, including pulling off a three-game road sweep of the Tigers with all three victories coming by one run apiece. Houston welcomes in Arizona for a key interleague set as the D-backs took two of three from the Astros at Chase Field in May.
Arizona has slid backwards of late after dropping three of four at home to Atlanta, followed by losing three of four games at Colorado to slip 4 ½ games back of the Rockies in the NL West race. Robbie Ray tries to turn around the Snakes’ luck tonight as the D-backs are 3-7 in the southpaw’s 10 starts since the All-Star break. Arizona is unbeaten in Ray’s last two road starts against the Dodgers and Padres, while the team is 6-4 in his 10 away assignments.
Dallas Keuchel counters for Houston, as the former Cy Young winner was tagged for five runs in six innings of a 6-5 defeat at Boston last Sunday. Keuchel has endured an up and down season following a 14-5 campaign in 2017 as the Astros have lost seven of his past 12 starts at Minute Maid Park. Since dropping nine consecutive home games in July and August, the Astros have regained their home-field advantage by winning eight of their last 11 home contests.
Betcha didn’t know: The Braves are creeping closer to their first NL East title since 2013 following a successful road trip at Arizona and San Francisco. However, home is not where the heart is for Atlanta, who owns a 3-10 record in the past 13 games at SunTrust Park as the Braves welcome in the Nationals tonight. Oh by the way, Cy Young front-runner Max Scherzer takes the hill for the Nationals, but Washington has split his four starts against Atlanta this season.
Biggest pubic favorite: Yankees (-280) vs. Blue Jays
Biggest public underdog: Cardinals (+112) vs. Dodgers
Biggest line move: Astros (-170 to -190) vs. Diamondbacks
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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