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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:04 PM

Friday's Diamond Notes

Hottest team: Brewers (8-1 last nine)

Milwaukee had its eight-game winning streak snapped in Thursday’s 1-0 defeat at Chicago to fall to 1-4 this season against the Cubs. However, the Brewers have still shined of late by allowing two runs or less in seven of the last nine contests, while owning a solid 8-4 record away from Miller Park this season.

The Brewers have a quick turnaround on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field as southpaw Brent Suter heads to the mound. Suter was knocked around by the Cubs at home on April 5 in an 8-0 setback as he allowed five runs in five innings of work. However, the Brewers have won seven of eight Game 2’s this season, while the Cubs have compiled an 0-4 record after winning a series opener.

Coldest team: Royals (1-9 last 10)

It’s amazing to think Kansas City once held a solid home-field advantage as the Royals fell to 1-10 at Kauffman Stadium following Thursday’s home loss to Chicago. The Royals have lost three times to the White Sox at home, while the only home victory for Kansas City this season came against Seattle back on April 9.

Kansas City tries to break through against Chicago, sending out left-hander Danny Duffy to the mound. Duffy, a 12-game winner two seasons ago, is winless in 2018, while the Royals have put together an 0-5 record with the southpaw on the hill this season. When Duffy faced the White Sox on opening day, he allowed five earned runs in four innings, including yielding three home runs in a 14-7 loss.

Hottest pitcher: Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers (3-0, 1.99 ERA)

Los Angeles squares off with San Francisco for its third series in less than a month. The two NL West rivals have split six games so far as the Dodgers try to get on track after losing their final two games as heavy favorites to the Marlins. Ryu allowed three earned runs in his first start of the season at Arizona, but has yielded two earned runs in his last three outings combined. The Dodgers blanked the Nationals behind Ryu’s seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball last Saturday, while striking out eight.

Coldest pitcher: Chris Tillman, Orioles (0-4, 9.87 ERA)

Tillman has been racked so far in four starts, giving up at least seven hits and four earned runs in each of his outings this season. To be fair, Tillman has faced the Astros, Yankees, Red Sox, and Indians so far, all playoff teams in 2017. Baltimore owns a dreadful 3-8 record at Camden Yards this season, while Tillman allowed seven runs in two innings of a 7-5 home defeat to Detroit last August, as the Orioles welcome in the Tigers for a weekend series.

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

Minnesota returns to Target Field for the first time in two weeks following stops in Puerto Rico (to face Cleveland), Tampa Bay, and New York. The Twins try to snap a seven-game skid after blowing a 3-0 lead in Thursday’s 4-3 walk-off loss to the Yankees. Minnesota’s pitching actually stepped up in the series finale against New York by allowing one run in the first eight innings, as the Twins had given up seven runs or more in each of the previous six contests. The Twins welcome in the Reds for an interleague set as Cincinnati has cashed the OVER in four the last five games.

Biggest UNDER run: Red Sox (4-1 last five)

Boston saw its four-game UNDER streak come to an end in Thursday’s 5-4 victory at Toronto, as the total closed at 8. The Red Sox have allowed four runs or fewer in 13 straight games, as Boston hosts Tampa Bay this weekend. The Rays are on fire by winning six straight contests, but they have lost six of seven meetings with the Red Sox. Drew Pomeranz makes his second start of the season for Boston, as the southpaw lasted less than four innings at Oakland last Friday in a 7-3 win. However, all three starts by Pomeranz against the Rays last season finished OVER the total.

Matchup to watch: Athletics vs. Astros

The AL West is turning into a competitive race, at least early on with the World Champion Astros in front at 17-9. For the exception of the struggling Rangers, the Angels, Mariners, and Athletics are all hanging around above the .500 mark.

Although Oakland lost on Wednesday at Texas, the A’s have rolled off wins in eight of their last 10 games, including taking two of three from the Red Sox last weekend at home. Sean Manaea tossed his first career no-hitter as the Athletics’ left-hander struck out 10 batters and walked two in a 3-0 victory over Boston as a +150 underdog. Manaea has yielded one earned run or less in four of five starts this season, but the A’s put together a 1-3 record in his four outings against the Astros last season.

The Astros avoided a sweep by the Angels in Wednesday’s 5-2 victory behind Justin Verlander’s seven strong innings. Houston turns to its southpaw ace in Dallas Keuchel on Friday as the 2015 Cy Young winner is fresh off his first win of the season in a 10-1 blasting of the White Sox last Saturday. Keuchel has struck out six batters in each of his last three starts, but had receiving a total of five runs of support in his first three outings prior to the rout of Chicago.

Betcha didn’t know: Only one team in the league has yet to win a series opener this season. That squad is the Texas Rangers, who owns a dreadful 0-8 mark in Game 1’s, including six of those losses by three runs or more. The Rangers travel to Toronto to face the Blue Jays as Texas also has another trend going against them on Friday. Texas beat Oakland on Wednesday, as the Rangers have compiled a 1-7 record off a victory this season, although that win came as a +280 underdog at Houston on April 15.

Biggest public favorite: Indians (-250) vs. Mariners

Biggest public underdog: Athletics (+145) at Astros

Biggest line move: Marlins (+130 to +115) vs. Rockies

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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