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Thursday's Diamond Notes
Hottest team: Astros (7-0 last seven)

Houston and Seattle are battling it for the top spot in the American League West as both teams are on fire. The Astros picked up their seventh consecutive victory on Wednesday night by blasting the Athletics, 13-5 to improve to 25-11 away from Minute Maid Park. Houston owns a 7-1 record against Oakland this season, including a perfect 5-0 mark at the Coliseum this season.

The Astros seek the sweep of the A’s this afternoon and have an excellent chance to do so as Justin Verlander takes the mound. The former MVP and Cy Young winner has compiled an 8-2 record along with a miniscule 1.45 ERA, while facing Oakland for the first time this season. The Astros have won six of Verlander’s seven road starts in 2018, while Houston is seeking its third fourth away sweep of the season.

Coldest team: Giants (5-16 last 21 on road)

San Francisco has gone backwards since traveling to south Florida by losing three games to Miami. The Giants blew an early 2-0 lead in a 5-4 walk-off defeat on Wednesday, marking the fourth loss on their current road trip. The highway has been tough for San Francisco, as the Giants have dropped seven consecutive series since sweeping the Braves in early May.

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The only good news for San Francisco is it has won each of its past two road series finales at Colorado and Washington, as the Giants wrap up their series with the Marlins this afternoon. Dereck Rodriguez makes his third career start for San Francisco today, as he was lit up by Washington in his last outing by allowing five earned runs in 2.2 innings of a 7-5 defeat.

Hottest pitcher: Blake Snell, Rays (8-3, 2.30 ERA)

Tampa Bay travels to New York tonight after pulling off a three-game home sweep of Toronto. Snell has been mowing down batters recently as the southpaw has struck out 36 batters in his last five starts. The left-hander has yielded only three runs in his past four outings, while giving up two runs or less in nine of his last 10 trips to the mound. Unfortunately, one of Snell’s worst starts of the season came against the Yankees in early April by allowing five earned runs in 3.1 innings of a 7-2 defeat.

Coldest pitcher: German Marquez, Rockies (4-6, 4.79 ERA)

Colorado ended a five-game slide in Wednesday’s blowout of Philadelphia, as the Rockies seek the series victory this afternoon. Marquez has struggled in June by giving up nine runs and 13 hits in 10 innings of work, while getting taken deep five times in home losses to the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. The right-hander has actually fared better away from Coors Field this season by posting a 2.06 ERA and 4-2 team record in six road starts.

Biggest OVER run: Diamondbacks (6-1 last seven)

Arizona couldn’t pull off the home sweep of Pittsburgh on Wednesday, but the D-backs scored a pair of late runs to cash the OVER of 7 ½ in a 5-4 loss. The D-backs plated at least eight runs in each of their previous five games (all wins), but fell to 2-19 in their last 21 games when scoring four runs or fewer. Overall, Arizona is 11-4 in the past 15 contests, meaning the D-backs have been plating plenty of runs of late, which includes a 7-2 mark to the OVER in the last nine home contests. The D-backs host the Mets on Thursday, looking to avenge a three-game sweep at Citi Field last month in which Arizona scored only six runs.

Biggest UNDER run: Yankees (8-0 last eight)

The powerful New York lineup has slumped of late, coming off Wednesday’s 5-4 home loss to Washington. The Bronx Bombers have failed to score more than four runs in six straight games, but their pitching has been stellar by limiting opponents to two runs or less in five of the past seven contests. The Yankees continue their homestand tonight by hosting the Rays as Domingo German hits the hill. German has seen the UNDER cash in three straight starts, but opponents have scored at least four runs in each of his three home starts this season.

Matchup to watch: Red Sox vs. Mariners

Both Boston and Seattle are fresh off sweeps heading into this crucial four-game series at Safeco Field. The Red Sox cruised past the struggling Orioles in a three-game sweep at Camden Yards, while the Mariners walked-off in Wednesday’s victory over the Angels to secure a sweep and hold onto first place in the American League West.

A pair of Cy Young winners head to the mound in Thursday’s opener as David Price squares off against Felix Hernandez. Price has been on fire of late as Boston owns a 6-0 record in the southpaw’s last six starts, including a 3-0 mark away from Fenway Park. During this span, Price has allowed two earned runs or less five times, while the UNDER has hit four times. Price is making his first start at Safeco Field since August 2016 when the Red Sox squandered a 4-0 lead as the Mariners scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth for a 5-4 victory.

Hernandez yielded at least five runs for the fifth time this season in last Saturday’s 7-3 loss at Tampa Bay. The Mariners have rebounded well when King Felix takes the mound following a defeat in his last start by going 4-1 this season in this situation. Pitching under the lights has benefited Hernandez this season as he owns a 4-0 record in night games, while the M’s are 6-1 in those contests.

The two teams split their six meetings last season as the Mariners won two of three matchups at Safeco Field. Five of the six games finished UNDER the total, while eight of the past nine contests for Boston have cashed the UNDER.

Betcha didn’t know: Series openers have not been kind to the Padres this season. San Diego has amazingly lost 13 of its past 14 Game 1’s of a series dating back to late April. Who was the only team the Padres beat in a series opener during this span? San Diego destroyed Atlanta, 11-4 on June 4 at Petco Park as the Padres grabbed two of three from the Braves in that series. The Padres travel to Atlanta tonight as an underdog looking to knock off the Braves after winning the final two games of their series against the Cardinals.

Biggest public favorite: Astros (-170) at Athletics

Biggest public underdog: Mariners (+120) vs. Red Sox

Biggest line move: Tigers (+110 to +105) vs. Twins

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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