Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:04 AM
Friday's Diamond Notes
Hottest team: Red Sox (7-0 last seven)
Boston completed a three-game sweep of Los Angeles on Thursday, as the Angels entered that pivotal series on a seven-game winning streak. The Red Sox outscored the Halos, 27-3 as outfielder Mookie Betts continued his hot series by knocking out his sixth home run of the season in the finale. Boston has won 16 of its past 17 games since blowing a 4-0 lead in the season opening loss at Tampa Bay.
The Red Sox remain in California to begin a weekend series with the Athletics, who have won their previous four games. Southpaw Drew Pomeranz makes his season debut after taking the mound twice in a pair of minor league rehab starts. Pomeranz closed 2017 with a career-high 17 victories for Boston, but the Red Sox lost five of his seven starts in the role of a road favorite.
Coldest team: White Sox (1-9 last 10)
Chicago actually started the season at 2-0, but the Pale Hose have won two games since and lost 11 times. The most bitter defeat came on Wednesday at Oakland as the White Sox squandered a five-run lead twice and lost in 14 innings, 12-11 to suffer the three-game sweep. The Athletics plated 30 runs in the three wins, as things don’t get any easier this weekend with the defending champion Astros visiting the South Side.
The White Sox have been horrific at home so far by losing five of six games at Guaranteed Rate Field. To make matter worse, it hasn’t come against great competition by dropping three to the Tigers and two to the Rays, but Chicago pulled off a three-game home sweep of Houston last season.
Hottest pitcher: Noah Syndergaard, Mets (2-0, 2.95 ERA)
New York looks to rebound after suffering its first road loss of the season in the series opener at Atlanta, 12-4. Syndergaard ranks third in the National League in strikeouts with 33, while coming off an 11-strikeout performance in last Sunday’s 3-2 victory over the Brewers. The Mets own a perfect 4-0 record in his four starts this season, even though New York has scored over four runs once in that span. In Syndergaard’s only start against the Braves last season, the right-hander tossed six scoreless innings in a 6-0 shutout at Citi Field.
Coldest pitcher: Kendall Graveman, Athletics (0-3, 9.87 ERA)
It will be a tall task for Graveman to slow down the Boston bats, who scored 27 runs in its three-game sweep of the Angels. The Oakland right-hander has allowed five earned runs in three different starts and four earned runs in another outing. Last season, Graveman pitched well against the Red Sox in a 3-2 home win as a +170 underdog by tossing six innings, while Oakland’s lone victory with the righty on the hill this season came as a home ‘dog against the Angels.
Biggest OVER run: Padres (5-0 last five)
San Diego hits the road after getting swept at home by Los Angeles in a three-game set. The Padres gave up 30 runs to the Dodgers, which is in sharp contrast to yielding 13 runs in a four-game series to the Giants last weekend. San Diego heads to Arizona to face the division-leading Diamondbacks, as Tyson Ross heads to the hill. Ross has been solid in two home starts by giving up four runs in wins over Colorado and San Francisco, but was tagged for four runs in his lone road start at Houston.
Biggest UNDER run: Indians (9-2 last 11)
Cleveland’s pitching allowed three runs in a two-game split against Minnesota in Puerto Rico. Although the Indians lost in 16 innings on Wednesday, the Twins didn’t score their first run until the 14th inning. In eight of the last 10 games, the Tribe’s hurlers have allowed two runs or less, as Cleveland looks to keep that streak going with a trip to struggling Baltimore. Trevor Bauer takes the mound in the opener, as the right-hander has yielded two earned runs or less in all three starts this season, although the UNDER has hit just once in those outings.
Matchup to watch: Nationals vs. Dodgers
Both Washington and Los Angeles are perennial division winners and playoff veterans in the National League. However, these squads enter this weekend series at Chavez Ravine with below .500 record as the Nationals (9-10) face a Dodgers’ club that has won four straight games (8-9).
Los Angeles found itself in a 4-9 hole and significantly behind red-hot Arizona before capturing the final game of its series last weekend. The Dodgers cruised past the Padres in a three-game road sweep, as the offense finally broke out with a 30-run performance. Clayton Kershaw heads to the mound in the series opener against the Nationals, as the former Cy Young winner lost his first two starts to the Giants and D-backs before Los Angeles defeated those two opponents in his next two outings.
The Nationals have performed better on the road (6-3) than at home this season (3-7), as Washington grabbed two of three at New York. Max Scherzer has put together three dominant performances on the mound in four starts this season for Washington, while striking out 21 batters and allowing three hits in his last two outings.
The Dodgers and Nationals split six matchups last season, with the road team winning two of three games each time. Kershaw and Scherzer each picked up 2-1 victories in a June series at Dodger Stadium, while squaring off against each other for the first time since Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, won by the Dodgers, 4-3.
Betcha didn’t know: The Reds have been awful (betcha you did know that). Cincinnati fired managed Bryan Price following a 3-15 start, which included a four-game home-sweep at the hands of St. Louis. The Cardinals host the Reds at Busch Stadium, after losing to the Cubs on Thursday. St. Louis has captured nine of the past 10 meetings with Cincinnati since last season, as Michael Wacha heads to the mound for the Redbirds looking to beat the Reds for the third time since 2017.
Biggest public favorite: Cardinals (-185) vs. Reds
Biggest public underdog: Cubs (+100) at Rockies
Biggest line move: Padres (+135 to +118) at Diamondbacks
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]
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