Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:04 PM
Friday's Diamond Notes
Hottest team: Nationals (13-2 last 15)
Washington hasn’t taken the field since Tuesday night and hasn’t played an official game since Sunday evening at Arizona. The Nationals were tied at 3-3 against the Yankees in the sixth inning prior to the game being suspended due to rain, while Wednesday’s contest was wiped out to due to poor weather. Regardless, Washington has been on fire by sweeping the four-game set at Arizona, while capturing four consecutive series.
The Nationals will turn to Cy Young winner Max Scherzer on the mound against the Dodgers to open up a weekend series. Scherzer is seeking a fourth Cy Young award this season and is on his way to it by owning a 7-1 record and 1.69 ERA along with 91 strikeouts. The Washington ace has yet to allow more than two earned runs in any of his nine starts this season, while defeating the Dodgers as a +135 underdog in Los Angeles last month, 5-2.
Coldest team: Royals (1-7 last eight)
Kansas City has not been able to get anything going from a winning standpoint this season, as the 2015 champions haven’t won more than two straight games through the first seven weeks. The Royals were swept for the fourth time at home by dropping all three games to the Rays, while suffering its third losing streak of at least five games this season.
The task won’t be easier this weekend as the big, bad Yankees invade Kansas City. Jakob Junis has turned into the Royals’ best option as a starting pitcher at 4-3 with an ERA of 3.53, while Kansas City has won five of his eight starts. Junis struggled against the Yankees last season by allowing six earned runs and seven hits in 5.2 innings of an 11-3 blowout loss in the Bronx.
Hottest pitcher: Sean Newcomb, Braves (4-1, 2.51 ERA)
The young Atlanta rotation is turning into one to be reckoned with, led by Newcomb’s recent stretch. The Braves’ southpaw has not allowed a run in any of his last three starts (19 innings), while Atlanta picked up road victories over New York, Tampa Bay, and Miami. Newcomb is set to make only his third home start of the season on Friday against the Marlins, as the Braves own an 0-2 record in his two starts at SunTrust Park. In Newcomb’s last start against Miami this past Sunday, the left-hander allowed one hit in six innings as the Braves edged Miami, 4-3.
Coldest pitcher: Brett Anderson, Athletics (0-2, 8.16 ERA)
The southpaw put together a solid season debut at Seattle by scattering five hits in 6.1 innings of a 3-2 victory. However, Anderson has allowed 13 runs (11 earned) in his last two outings against the Astros and Yankees in only eight innings of work. Anderson’s worst start came against Houston on May 7 when he was tagged for 10 hits and nine runs in three innings of a 16-2 home defeat. Anderson faces a Toronto squad that owns a 3-7 record in its previous 10 games against left-handed starting pitchers.
Biggest OVER run: Diamondbacks (11-2 last 13 on road)
Arizona travels to the Big Apple this weekend for a three-game series with the struggling Mets. The D-backs will send out two of their aces on Saturday with Patrick Corbin taking the mound, followed by Zack Greinke on Sunday. In Friday’s opener, Zack Godley will oppose New York’s Jacob deGrom, as Godley looks to turn around a recent tough stretch by allowing four earned runs in three of his past four starts, resulting in three OVERS. Arizona’s offense has struggled recently at home, but on the highway, the D-backs have delivered at least four runs in its past eight victories away from Chase Field.
Biggest UNDER run: Rockies (8-2-1 last 11)
Colorado managed a PUSH on an eight total in Thursday’s 5-3 extra-innings victory to capture the opener of a four-game set at San Francisco. The Rockies have been wildly inconsistent of late by alternating wins and losses in each of their last six games, while allowing at least three runs in each of their past four contests. Off Colorado’s last three wins, the Rockies have responded by scoring a total of four runs, including getting shut out twice. Kyle Freeland has been terrific of late for Colorado by tossing four consecutive quality starts, while registering the UNDER in all four appearances.
Matchup to watch: Phillies vs. Cardinals
Philadelphia continued its impressive start to the season by knocking off St. Louis on Thursday, 6-2 to improve to 25-16. The Phillies sit one half-game behind the Braves for the top spot in the National League East as Philadelphia has won seven of its past eight contests. Meanwhile, the Cardinals suffered their fourth loss in the last five games, while St. Louis has scored three runs or fewer in each of those four defeats.
Jake Arrieta heads to the mound for the Phillies in Game 2 of this series, as the right-hander is winless in his last three appearances. Arrieta tossed 7.1 scoreless innings of five-hit ball in his previous outing against the Mets, but New York struck for three runs in the ninth inning to beat Philadelphia, 3-1. The 2015 Cy Young winner has delivered quality starts in five of his last six starts, but had his struggles against the Cardinals last season. As a member of the Cubs, Chicago posted a 1-3 record against St. Louis in four outings, while allowing five runs in 3.1 innings of an 8-7 defeat at Busch Stadium last September.
Michael Wacha counters for the Cardinals, as St. Louis has won all five of his home starts this season. Wacha is coming off a loss in his last outing at San Diego, in spite of scattering three hits and allowing one earned run in six innings of a 2-1 defeat last Saturday. The Cardinals have cashed the UNDER in each of Wacha’s last three appearances, while St. Louis won both of his starts against Philadelphia last season.
Betcha didn’t know: It’s a first-place showdown in Houston as the Astros host the Indians, although Cleveland enters tonight’s action with a 21-21 record. Cleveland owned Houston last season by capturing five of six matchups, including a three-game sweep at Minute Maid Park. However, the Indians, who beat the Tigers on Wednesday, own a 1-7 record in series openers this season off a victory.
Biggest public favorite: Nationals (-215) vs. Dodgers
Biggest public underdog: Twins (+135) at Brewers
Biggest line move: Angels (-130 to -145) vs. Rays
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.