Thursday’s Diamond NotesHottest team: Yankees (11-1 last 12)
New York tries to close out this tough road trip on a high note with a victory at Houston. The Yankees entered the swing on a six-game winning streak, and remained on fire by pulling out a three-game sweep of the Angels in Anaheim. New York had its nine-game hot streak snapped in Monday’s 2-1 setback at Houston, but rebounded with consecutive 4-0 shutouts. Luis Severino tossed a complete-game shutout on Wednesday, while striking out 10 batters to avenge a pair of losses to the Astros in last season’s ALCS.
Masahiro Tanaka takes the mound in Thursday’s matinee as the Yankees’ right-hander is coming off a pair of dominating performances in his last two starts. Tanaka scattered a total of five hits and two earned runs in 12 innings in victories over the Twins and Angels, while the Yankees are 3-0 in his three road outings.
Coldest team: Orioles (2-8 last 10)
Baltimore’s abysmal season continues as the Orioles dropped their eighth consecutive road game on Wednesday, 10-7 to the Angels. The final score is misleading as Baltimore scored five runs in the ninth inning, while Dylan Bundy allowed seven runs in 4.1 innings of work in his second straight poor outing.
The Orioles not only try to avoid getting swept on the road for the fourth time this season, but also seek their first win away from Camden Yards since April 8. Chris Tillman was knocked around in his first four starts this season, but the Baltimore right-hander is coming off one of his best outings ever by tossing seven scoreless innings and giving up one hit in a 6-0 victory against Detroit his last time out.
Hottest pitcher: Trevor Williams, Pirates (4-1, 2.29 ERA)
Pittsburgh looks to avoid the sweep against Washington after getting blasted by the Nationals on Wednesday, 12-3. Williams has tossed six innings in five of six starts this season, as Pittsburgh owns a 4-2 record in those outings. The right-hander has yielded four hits or fewer in four straight starts, while also giving up seven earned runs in this stretch. The Pirates finished 1-6 in Williams’ final seven road starts in 2017, but Pittsburgh has won two of his three road outings this season.
Coldest pitcher: Alex Wood, Dodgers (0-3, 4.11 ERA)
Los Angeles has dug themselves a substantial hole in the NL West standings behind Arizona to start the season. The Dodgers picked up only their second win over the Diamondbacks in nine tries in Wednesday’s 2-1 triumph at Chase Field as Wood squares off opposite Arizona’s Patrick Corbin for the second time this season. In the first meeting April 4, the D-backs blanked the Dodgers, 3-0 as Wood allowed three runs in six innings. Wood owns a solid 30/3 strikeout to walk ratio this season, but yielded four earned runs in six innings of an 8-3 setback at San Francisco his last time out after getting staked an early 2-0 lead.
Biggest OVER run: Rangers (7-2-1 last 10)
Texas returns home following a 3-3 road swing at Toronto and Cleveland, but the Rangers’ pitching staff allowed 32 runs in the final four games. The offense showed signs of life in the three wins by plating 21 runs, but dug themselves an early 9-1 hole in Wednesday’s 12-4 drubbing to the Indians. The task doesn’t get easier as the Red Sox visit Arlington for a four-game set starting Thursday. Mike Minor has received at least five runs of support in three of his last four outings for Texas, but the Rangers are 2-1 to the UNDER in his three home starts.
Biggest UNDER run: White Sox (6-1-1 last eight)
Chicago started its rare five-game series at Kansas City with three consecutive victories, but lost the final two contests, followed by a pair of one-run setbacks at St. Louis. The pitching staff held the Cardinals’ lineup in check in a pair of 3-2 losses, but the offense has scored two runs in three of the past four contests. The White Sox return home to host the struggling Twins, as right-hander Reynaldo Lopez brings his 1.78 ERA to the mound for Chicago. The Sox have turned into a solid OVER play in home series openers this season with a 4-0 mark.
Matchup to watch: Athletics vs. Mariners
Oakland and Seattle conclude their three-game series at Safeco Field after the two AL West squads split the first two contests. The Mariners pulled away for a 6-3 victory on Tuesday, but the A’s rebounded with a 3-2 triumph as +160 underdogs on Wednesday by rallying for three runs in the final two innings.
The A’s send out the red-hot Sean Manaea looking for the series victory, coming off three straight wins. Manaea tossed the first no-hitter of the season in a 3-0 shutout of the Red Sox as a +150 underdog on April 21 and followed that performance up with an 8-1 win over the Astros as a +165 road ‘dog. The southpaw started this hot stretch by yielding two hits and one earned run in seven innings of a 2-1 victory at Seattle on April 15.
The Mariners counter with another left-hander in Wade Leblanc, who is making his first start of the season after five relief appearances. Since starting the season at 4-1 as a home underdog, Seattle has dropped four of its past five in this role, while losing five of its previous seven games at Safeco Field overall.
Betcha didn’t know: The Braves are turning into a factor in the NL East race, at least early on this season. Atlanta owns an 18-11 record and sits in first place of the division after shutting out the Mets on Wednesday. The Braves seek the series sweep on Thursday afternoon as Atlanta has compiled a perfect 8-0 record in Game 3’s of a series this season.
Biggest public favorite: Red Sox (-145) at Rangers
Biggest public underdog: Dodgers (+110) at Diamondbacks
Biggest line move: Mariners (+115 to +110) vs. Athletics
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at email@example.com
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