Wednesday's Diamond Notes
September 12, 2018
By Kevin Rogers
Hottest team: Athletics (8-2 last 10)
It’s amazing to think that with less than three weeks left in the regular season that Oakland owns more wins (88) than seven playoff teams from last season (Indians, Twins, Cubs, Dodgers, Rockies, Diamondbacks, and Nationals). The A’s continued their dominance of the lowly Orioles by beating Baltimore for the fourth time in four tries in Tuesday’s 3-2 victory at Camden Yards. Oakland picked up its fifth consecutive victory overall, while winning for the 12th time in the past 17 contests.
The A’s send out right-hander Liam Hendriks to the mound tonight for his fourth start of the season. Hendriks hasn’t lasted past the second inning in any of his first three starts as Oakland has decided to use a bullpen by committee approach with the Australian hurler. Since Baltimore swept Toronto at home in late August, the Orioles have lost nine of their past 10 games.
Coldest team: Giants (0-10 last 10)
While Oakland is closing in a playoff berth, its friends on the other side of the Bay are counting the days until the season end. The Giants are riding a 10-game skid following Tuesday’s 4-1 defeat to the Braves as the road team is now 5-0 in five matchups this season. San Francisco’s offense has produced exactly one run in each of its last four games at AT&T Park, all losses, while scoring three runs or less nine times during this cold stretch.
The Giants try to avoid their third consecutive sweep this afternoon as southpaw Derek Holland takes the mound. Holland has allowed five earned runs in his last five starts, although the Giants have dropped his last two outings to the Mets and Brewers. The Braves have extended their lead over the Phillies in the NL East to 6 ½ games as Atlanta has lost four of its past five games to end a road trip of at least six games.
Hottest pitcher: Blake Snell, Rays (18-5, 2.06 ERA)
The AL Cy Young race will come down to the finish as Snell has put himself in a great position. The Tampa Bay southpaw has won six consecutive starts, including a 5-3 win over Cleveland at Progressive Field on September 1. Snell has been especially dominant at home by winning nine of 10 decisions at Tropicana Field, while owning a 1.23 ERA. The Rays look to bounce back after seeing their 12-game home winning streak snapped by the Indians last night in a 2-0 defeat.
Coldest pitcher: Jake Odorizzi, Twins (5-10, 4.57 ERA)
Odorizzi has struggled against two division leaders in his past two starts by allowing eight earned runs in 10 innings of losses to the Indians and Astros on the road. Odorizzi returns home for tonight’s start, but faces another likely playoff squad in the Yankees. Since the start of July, the Twins are 5-1 in Odorizzi’s last six outings at Target Field. However, Odorizzi struggled in two starts against the Yankees last season as a member of the Rays by losing a pair of starts at home.
Biggest OVER run: Mets (5-0-1 last six)
Although it was only a 5-3 game last night, the Mets cashed the OVER on a 6 ½ total in a defeat to Miami as heavy favorites with ace Jacob deGrom on the mound. New York’s pitching staff has allowed at least four runs in four consecutive games, while the Mets have seen totals of seven or less in each of the past five contests. The Mets and Marlins hook up for a double-header at Citi Field as Zack Wheeler and Jason Vargas are the two starters for New York. Wheeler has tossed at least seven innings in six of his last seven outings, while Vargas has cashed the UNDER in five straight home starts.
Biggest UNDER run: Mariners (5-0 last five)
Seattle’s meltdown towards a postseason berth was solidified in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to San Diego. Not only did the Mariners lose to the last-place Padres for the third time in three tries, but Seattle’s offense produced three runs or fewer for the seventh time in eight games. The M’s have cashed the UNDER in six of seven games on their current homestand, while the lone OVER against Baltimore hit on a 7 ½ total in a 5-3 loss. Seattle will try to salvage its series with San Diego this afternoon as Wade LeBlanc heads to the hill for the M’s. The UNDER trend may turn around as the OVER has cashed in each of LeBlanc’s last three starts at Safeco Field, but the M’s have lost each of those three contests.
Matchup to watch: Diamondbacks vs. Rockies
The three-horse race in the NL West continues to be a mystery on who will come out on top. The Dodgers have lost the last two games to the Reds on the road, while Colorado and Arizona have split the first two games of their series at Coors Field. Following Colorado’s blowout on Monday, the D-backs bounced back on Tuesday in a 6-3 win behind Zack Greinke as the Rockies lead the Dodgers by 1 ½ games and own a 2 ½-game edge over Arizona.
Patrick Corbin takes the mound for Arizona as the southpaw is winless in his last two road starts. The left-hander beat the Braves his last time out to pick up his 11th victory on the season, while Arizona owns a 2-0 record in Corbin’s two outings against Colorado. The D-backs improved to 3-6 in the last nine road games with Tuesday’s victory, but Arizona needs every win down the stretch as its next four series come against the Astros, Cubs, Rockies, and Dodgers.
Jon Gray counters for Colorado, as the Rockies have won 10 of the past 12 starts made by the right-hander. Gray is facing the D-backs for the first time since the opening series of the season in Phoenix as he allowed three earned runs in four innings of an 8-2 loss. The Rockies have captured five of Gray’s last six starts at Coors Field, but Colorado lost to Los Angeles in a 4-2 setback in his past home outing last Friday.
Betcha didn’t know: The Phillies put together a terrific turnaround this season, but Philadelphia is falling apart at the wrong time. After getting swept in a double-header by the Nationals on Tuesday, Philadelphia fell to 6-16 in the last 22 games. Ace Aaron Nola heads to the hill tonight opposite Washington’s Stephen Strasburg as the Phillies have lost each of Nola’s last two home starts since beginning the season at 12-0 in the right-hander’s outings at Citizens Bank Park.
Biggest public favorite: Red Sox (-245) vs. Blue Jays
Biggest public underdog: Rangers (+155) at Angels
Biggest line move: White Sox (-120 to -134) at Royals
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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