Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:04 PM
Wednesday's Diamond Notes
Hottest team: Mariners (14-3 last 17)
Nearly a week into June and the Astros are not leading the American League West race. Instead, it’s Seattle, who made a major statement in the series opener at Minute Maid Park by scoring six early runs in a 7-1 blowout of Houston. The Mariners extended their division advantage over the Astros to two games, while pulling off their fifth consecutive victory. During this hot stretch, Seattle has allowed one run in seven of the past 11 games.
The Mariners are a heavy underdog on Wednesday against Lance McCullers, Jr. and the Astros as the right-hander limited Seattle to one hit and one run in seven innings of a 4-1 in April. Wade LeBlanc counters for Seattle, as the Mariners own a 5-1 record in his six starts this season, while cashing the UNDER in all six of those outings.
Coldest team: Mets (2-10 last 12)
The month of May didn’t treat the Mets very well (10-18), but things have gone from bad to worse in the first week of June. New York has been amazingly bad by losing all five games on its current homestand, including Tuesday’s 2-1 setback to last-place Baltimore. The Mets followed up a six-run effort in four losses to the Cubs by scratching across a single run against the Orioles, but New York’s pitching has allowed four runs in the last two games.
New York finishes off its two-game interleague set with Baltimore prior to a visit from the Yankees this weekend. Zack Wheeler takes the mound for the Mets in this matinee affair as New York is winless in his past six starts, while the team is 0-5 in his five outings at Citi Field this season. The Mets look to avoid their fourth home sweep since the start of May, while Baltimore has won consecutive road games only twice this season.
Hottest pitcher: Daniel Mengden, Athletics (6-4, 2.91 ERA)
Since beginning the season at 0-2, Mengden has turned into one of the most reliable starters in baseball. Oakland has won eight of the right-hander’s last 10 starts with both losses coming to defending champion Houston. Mengden owns a 4-0 record in his past four outings, while yielding four earned runs in his last 30 innings of work. The Texas native looks to avenge a 6-3 home loss to the Rangers in April as Mengden takes the mound in Arlington trying to improve on a 3-1 road record this season.
Coldest pitcher: Ian Kennedy, Royals (1-6, 6.08 ERA)
It’s been a rough season in Kansas City for a team that is three years removed from hoisting the World Series trophy. The Royals continue their road trip against the Angels as Kennedy seeks his first win since April 7 at Cleveland as a +220 underdog. Kansas City owns an 0-5 record in Kennedy’s past five outings, including a 16-0 thrashing at the hands of Oakland last Friday in which the right-hander allowed eight runs in three innings. Kennedy pitched well against the Angels at home in April, giving up one earned run in six innings of a 7-1 defeat.
Biggest OVER run: Rockies (6-0 last six)
Colorado’s pitching was torched in its three-game sweep at the hands of Los Angeles this past weekend by allowing 33 runs. The Rockies’ offense turned things around in Tuesday’s rout of the Reds at Great American Ballpark, 9-6 to continue their OVER streak. Colorado improved to 9-1 in their last 10 road series openers, while scoring at least four runs in 10 consecutive games overall. Jon Gray may be in line to keep this OVER streak going as the Rockies’ right-hander has given up 19 runs in his last four starts, while the OVER has hit in three of his four outings away from Coors Field this season.
Biggest UNDER run: Nationals (10-0 last ten)
Only on a 6 ½ total can you feel good about the UNDER hitting if Max Scherzer is on the mound. The three-time Cy Young Award winner tossed eight spectacular innings and struck out 13 batters in a 4-2 victory over Tampa Bay on Tuesday to barely cash the UNDER. Regardless, that streak is up to double-digits as the Nationals have not allowed more than four runs in any of their last 10 games. On the flip side, the offense has plated more than three runs only twice in the past five contests. Tanner Roark gets the start on Wednesday as the Nationals have drilled the UNDER in each of his last seven starts.
Matchup to watch: Phillies vs. Cubs
Philadelphia rebounded from an ugly weekend series sweep in San Francisco to cruise past Chicago, 6-1 at Wrigley Field on Tuesday. The Phillies not only cashed as +190 road underdogs, but their offense also got back into gear after getting limited to one run in the previous 27 innings. Meanwhile, the Cubs didn’t show much after a four-game sweep of the Mets at Citi Field as Chicago entered Tuesday’s action with a 7-1 record in the previous eight contests.
Aaron Nola heads to the mound for Philadelphia looking to keep his solid season going. The right-hander has put together an impressive 7-2 mark to go along with a 2.18 ERA, while the Phillies own a 7-1 record in his past eight trips to the hill. Nola has limited opponents to one run or less in five of his last six starts, while most recently cashing as a +150 road underdog against the Dodgers last Thursday in a 2-1 victory.
Jose Quintana counters for Chicago, as the southpaw is seeking consistency after tossing six scoreless innings in a 5-1 victory over the Mets last Thursday. Quintana has not delivered consecutive quality outings this season, while allowing 10 runs in his past two home starts against the Giants and Braves, both losses as a heavy favorite. The Cubs have done a solid job of bouncing back off a loss recently by going 6-1 in their last seven off a defeat since mid-May.
Betcha didn’t know: Since Sonny Gray was traded to the Yankees from Oakland last August, the right-hander has been the model of inconsistency in pinstripes. New York owns an 0-8 record when Gray takes the mound after the Yankees won in his previous outing. The Yankees are in this situation on Wednesday against the Blue Jays as New York won at Baltimore last Friday with Gray tossing six innings in a 4-1 victory.
Biggest public favorite: Angels (-260) vs. Royals
Biggest public underdog: Pirates (+100) vs. Dodgers
Biggest line move: Blue Jays (+130 to +120) vs. Yankees
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.