Wednesday's Diamond Notes
May 16, 2018
By Kevin Rogers
Hottest team: Phillies (7-3 last 10)
Philadelphia didn’t have an opportunity to play last night thanks to the rain in the Beltway. The Phillies enter their interleague series with the Orioles off a successful 5-1 homestand, which includes a four-game sweep of the Giants. Philadelphia split a two-game series with the Mets as the lone loss came in the opener as New York scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to win, 3-1.
The pitching has carried the Phillies of late as the staff has allowed three runs or less in six straight games. Right-hander Nick Pivetta heads to the mound this afternoon as Philadelphia has won six of his eight starts this season. Pivetta is coming off his second scoreless effort of the season after tossing five innings and allowing four hits in an 11-3 rout of the Giants on May 9.
Coldest team: Dodgers (2-8 last 10)
How bad has it been for the defending National League champions? Los Angeles enters tonight’s play at Miami owning a one-game edge over the Marlins, a team that was expected to lose 100 games this season. The Marlins picked up their third win in four tries against the Dodgers this season in Tuesday’s 4-2 victory as +160 underdogs, marking the fifth consecutive loss by L.A. To make matters worse, all five of these losses have come to last-place teams with the first four coming courtesy of the Reds this past weekend.
The most consistent pitcher for the Dodgers with Clayton Kershaw sidelined is Walker Buehler, who toes the rubber tonight. Buehler has allowed two earned runs or less in all four starts this season, including spearheading a no-hit performance by the Dodgers’ staff in a win over the Padres in Mexico on May 4. The right-hander struck out eight in six innings in his last outing, a 4-1 defeat to Cincinnati as a -175 home favorite.
Hottest pitcher: Miles Mikolas, Cardinals (5-0, 2.51 ERA)
The Twins have had the Cardinals’ number in three matchups this season, limiting St. Louis to three runs in three victories. St. Louis seeks a split of its two-game set at Target Field as Mikolas looks to keep his record unblemished. Mikolas has yielded five earned runs in past five starts combined, while coming off a 2-1 victory at San Diego last Thursday as a -150 favorite. The right-hander has pitched into the seventh inning in six consecutive outings, as the Cardinals look to avoid their first four-game losing streak of the season.
Coldest pitcher: Jason Hammel, Royals (0-4, 6.13 ERA)
Normally a pitcher wouldn’t be featured here if their team is off a win in his last start. The Royals erased a five-run deficit to beat the Indians in Hammel’s last start, 10-9, but the right-hander was tagged for nine runs in less than four innings of work. The victory was actually the first for the Royals with Hammel starting this season in eight outings. Kansas City tries to avoid the sweep against Tampa Bay this afternoon as the Royals own an 0-3 mark in Hammel’s three home starts in 2018.
Biggest OVER run: Tigers (6-1-1 last eight)
The AL Central race is tightening up at the top, although the leader still doesn’t have a winning record. The Indians are 20-21 following last night’s meltdown loss at Detroit, 9-8 after blowing a pair of five-run leads. Detroit’s offense has opened up of late by scoring 20 runs in the last three victories, while plating at least four runs in eight consecutive contests. The task won’t be easy against the Indians today as Trevor Bauer heads to the hill, owning an ERA of 3.00 in eight starts, while beating the Tigers earlier this season, 9-3.
Biggest UNDER run: Astros (9-1-1 last 11)
We’ll double-dip on the defending champions with the latest UNDER streak along with their series finale against the Angels. Houston rallied for a 5-3 victory on Tuesday night as the Astros haven’t allowed more than three runs in nine consecutive games. Gerrit Cole has been tremendous this season for Houston, but two of his shakiest starts have come against the Angels, as the right-hander yielded three earned runs in five innings on Tuesday, before the Astros scored four late runs to manage a PUSH on an 8 total.
Matchup to watch: Astros vs. Angels
Houston has won six of its last eight games, all coming against AL West opponents to own a one-game advantage over Los Angeles and Seattle heading into Wednesday’s action. Jose Altuve’s bases-clearing double in the eighth inning on Tuesday helped spark a late rally as the Astros topped the Angels, 5-3 to cash as -160 favorites. The Astros improved to 2-3 against the Angels this season, as Houston sends out one of its Cy Young winners in the finale.
Justin Verlander has compiled a miniscule 1.21 ERA this season, but is winless in his last two starts. Houston’s offense came up dry for Verlander in losses to Arizona and Texas by scoring a combined one run, although the ace allowed three hits and one earned run in six innings of work each time. Verlander topped the Halos at Minute Maid Park last month as a -200 favorite, 5-2 by striking out nine batters in seven innings of work.
Garrett Richards counters for the Angels, as Los Angeles has put together a 6-2 record in his eight starts this season. The right-hander has received fantastic run support of late as the Angels have scored 12 runs in his past two outings, while L.A. has plated at least five runs in six of his appearances. In two September starts last season against Houston, Richards held his own by giving up five hits and one earned run in 12 innings of work, but the Angels lost the two games, 1-0 and 3-0.
Betcha didn’t know: The Athletics have had their way with the Red Sox this season by capturing four of five matchups. Oakland shoots for the unlikely sweep at Fenway Park tonight, but the Red Sox have two things on their side. First, Boston is sending out ace Chris Sale, as the Red Sox haven’t lost consecutive starts made by the southpaw this season coming off a 5-3 defeat at Toronto. Secondly, Boston has compiled a superb 11-1 record in Game 3’s of a series, including a perfect 5-0 mark at home.
Biggest public favorite: Red Sox (-250) vs. Athletics
Biggest public underdog: Braves (+100) vs. Cubs
Biggest line move: Royals (+105 to -105) vs. Rays
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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