Wednesday's Diamond Notes
September 13, 2017
By Kevin Rogers
Hottest team: Indians (20-0 last 20) vs. Tigers
The American League pennant will have to go through Cleveland once again. The Indians tied the 2002 Oakland Athletics’ record for most consecutive victories by an AL team after blanking the Tigers, 2-0 on Tuesday. Cleveland hasn’t allowed more than two runs in seven straight wins, while yielding only five runs in the past six victories over Detroit in September.
The Indians go for win number 21 in a row in a matinee at Progressive Field as Mike Clevinger takes the mound. The right-hander hasn’t given up a run in his last three starts, while striking out 22 batters in his past 18 innings of work. Clevinger owns a perfect 3-0 record against the Tigers this season, yielding one run in 18 innings, while scattering eight hits.
Coldest team: Dodgers (1-11 last 12) at Giants
Although Los Angeles snapped its 11-game losing skid in Tuesday’s 5-3 victory at San Francisco, the Dodgers still qualify for this category. It wasn’t easy, as closer Kelsey Jansen escaped a bases-loaded jam to give Los Angeles its first win since September 1 at San Diego, which was also started by Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers have lost 15 in a row when Kershaw doesn’t toe the rubber, with the last victory by a starter other than the Cy Young winner coming on August 25 against Milwaukee.
Yu Darvish will look to extend the winning streak to two at AT&T Park as the right-hander has lost his past three starts, all as a favorite of -200 or higher. In Darvish’s previous two outings, he has allowed 10 earned runs in only 7.1 innings of work, but he does boast a 2-1 record in three road starts with the Dodgers since getting traded from Texas in late August.
Hottest pitcher: Doug Fister, Red Sox (5-7, 3.91 ERA)
In Fister’s first four starts with Boston, the Sox lost three times, while allowing 18 runs in that span. The right-hander has turned things around recently, as Boston has compiled a 4-2 record in his past six starts, including a pair of dominating performances against red-hot Cleveland. Fister has tossed at least seven innings in four consecutive starts, including recent victories over the Blue Jays and Yankees. The Red Sox continue their series with the A’s after Boston pounded Oakland on Tuesday, 11-1.
Coldest pitcher: Tyler Glasnow, Pirates (2-6, 7.45 ERA)
Pittsburgh couldn’t capitalize off Monday’s shutout of Milwaukee as the Pirates lost last night at Miller Park. Things won’t get easier as Glasnow searches for his first victory since May 18. Granted, the right-hander has been pitching at Triple-A the last few months, but he finished his tenure with the big club losing his final three starts, while giving up 16 runs in that span.
Biggest OVER run: Athletics (9-1 last 10)
Oakland’s offense took the night off on Tuesday following a productive weekend against Houston. The A’s topped the nine-run mark in all four victories against the Astros, but could muster only a single run in Tuesday’s 11-1 blowout at Boston. Another OVER can be in the works at Fenway Park as Jharel Cotton has registered three straight OVERS for Oakland, while allowing at least five runs in four of his past five road starts.
Biggest UNDER run: Orioles (5-0 last five)
Baltimore is going backwards at the wrong time by dropping its sixth consecutive game on Tuesday, 3-2 in walk-off fashion to Toronto. The Orioles’ offense isn’t helping the cause by scoring two runs or fewer in five losses during this stretch. Kevin Gausman looks to end Baltimore’s recent woes as the right-hander was knocked around in his past outing against the Yankees by allowing five earned runs in a 9-1 defeat. In spite of that OVER against New York, the Orioles are 7-2 to the UNDER in Gausman’s last nine starts.
Matchup to watch: Astros vs. Angels
Houston is still firmly in control of the AL West, but the Astros were tripped up this past weekend in a four-game sweep by the Athletics. The Astros likely won’t get home-field advantage in the American League as the Indians have passed Houston in that department following Cleveland’s massive winning streak. However, the Astros did end their losing streak on Tuesday behind Justin Verlander in a 1-0 shutout of the Angels to send Los Angeles to its fourth defeat in the last five games.
Lance McCullers, Jr. was set to start for the Astros, but he was scratched due to arm fatigue. Mike Fiers will take the mound in McCullers’ place, looking for his first victory since August 23 against the Nationals. The right-hander hasn’t pitched well of late, allowing 14 earned runs in a pair of starts against the Rangers and Mets, while giving up two earned runs in an inning of relief of a 9-8 setback at Oakland last Friday. Fiers has seen success against the Angels this season by posting a 2-0 record, including a 5-3 victory in Anaheim back in May.
Tyler Skaggs counters for Los Angeles, as the southpaw is winless in his last five trips to the mound. The Angels are 1-4 in this stretch with the only victory coincidentally coming against the Astros in a dramatic 7-6 triumph as L.A. erased a 6-1 deficit. The Angels’ offense has been quiet of late by scoring one run or fewer in three of its last four losses, but the Halos own a solid 7-1 record in their last eight Game 2’s of a home series.
Betcha didn’t know: The Twins have the ability to bust out the bats at any given time. Minnesota dropped a 20-spot earlier this season in a blowout of Seattle, while ripping San Diego on Tuesday, 16-0. The Twins have responded well after scoring in double-digits by posting a 6-2 record in their next game in the last eight opportunities in this situation. Following last night’s win, Minnesota has compiled nine consecutive victories over National League opponents.
Biggest public favorite: Nationals (-325) vs. Braves
Biggest public underdog: Yankees (+105) vs. Rays
Biggest line move: Mariners (-105 to -110) at Rangers
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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