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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:03 PM

Friday's Diamond Notes

Hottest team: Cubs (7-1 last eight)

Chicago is one victory away from becoming the second National League to reach the 50-win mark. The Cubs are riding a six-game winning streak after pulling off a pair of interleague home sweeps over Minnesota and Detroit. The offense has been scorching the last eight games by scoring at least five runs in each of these contests, including reaching double-digits four times.

The Cubs are in a rare revenge spot after getting swept in a four-game series at Cincinnati in late June. The Reds invade Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon as Cincinnati has won four of five. Southpaw Mike Montgomery takes the mound for the Cubs looking to extend this hot streak as Chicago owns a 5-2 record in his past seven starts. Montgomery allowed four runs in six innings of work in an 8-6 loss to the Reds on June 24 as Cincinnati heads to Chicago for the first time this season.

Coldest team: Tigers (2-14 last 16)

Detroit returned home after getting swept in a two-game set at Wrigley Field and put together another loss in Thursday’s defeat to Texas. The Tigers have dropped five consecutive games at Comerica Park with their last home victory coming on June 14 against Minnesota. Due to the dreadful play of the White Sox and Royals, the Tigers have managed to sit in third place of the AL Central, but remain 12 games behind the Indians past the halfway point of the season.

Game 2 of the four-game set at Comerica Park takes place tonight as Jordan Zimmermann tries to get the Tigers in the win column. Zimmermann is coming off a solid effort in his last start at Toronto by scattering five hits and allowing one run in seven innings of a 9-1 blowout as a +175 underdog, but Detroit owns a 1-3 record in his four home starts.

Hottest pitcher: Dereck Rodriguez, Giants (3-1, 3.16 ERA)

The son of Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez has delivered in short time since entering the San Francisco rotation in June. Rodriguez is unbeaten in his last four starts, while the right-hander has yielded one earned run in his previous 13.1 innings of work. Rodriguez delivered 6.1 shutout innings in a 7-0 trouncing of Arizona his last time out, but the Giants will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak on Friday against the Cardinals.

Coldest pitcher: Sonny Gray, Yankees (5-6, 5.44 ERA)

Things haven’t worked out well for the New York right-hander of late, as the Yankees have been shut out in each of Gray’s last two starts. In the losses to the Rays and Red Sox, Gray has been tagged for 13 hits and 10 runs in nine innings of work, while allowing six runs to Boston for the second time this season. Gray will try to turn things around at Toronto on Friday,

Biggest OVER run: Reds (6-1-1 last eight)

Cincinnati’s offense has caught fire of late as the Reds plated 20 runs in their series victory over the White Sox, while putting up 20 runs in the final two wins of their previous series against the Brewers. In the four-game sweep of the Cubs in late June, the Reds crossed home plate 31 times, while Cincinnati has scored fewer than four runs once in the last 17 games. The Reds square off with the Cubs this afternoon at Wrigley Field as Tyler Mahle heads to the mound, looking for his seventh win. Mahle has seen the UNDER connect in five of seven road starts this season.

Biggest UNDER run: Phillies (8-1 last nine)

Philadelphia welcomes in cross-state rival Pittsburgh tonight as the Phillies have allowed three runs or less during all four games of their current winning streak. The Phillies cashed the UNDER in eight of nine games on their recent homestand with the lone OVER coming in a 17-7 loss to the Nationals, but Philadelphia yielded eight runs to Washington in the other three matchups. Nick Pivetta tries to get on track for Philadelphia tonight as he was knocked around for seven runs in 1.2 innings in that 10-run defeat to Washington last Friday night. Philadelphia is on a 4-0 OVER run in Pivetta’s previous four starts, but the Phillies limited the Pirates to five runs in a four-game sweep at Citizens Bank Park in April.

Matchup to watch: Dodgers vs. Angels

The annual “Freeway Series” begins tonight in Anaheim as the Angels return home from a brutal road trip. The Halos posted a 3-7 record on its four-city road trip, capped off by a series loss against red-hot Seattle, while the Angels own a 3-9 mark in the past 12 games overall. The Dodgers are headed in the opposite direction by winning four straight games, including pulling off a dominating three-game sweep of the Pirates by outscoring Pittsburgh, 31-8.

Kenta Maeda takes the mound for the Dodgers in the opener as he is coming off a loss to the Rockies in his last start in spite of striking out nine batters in seven innings. The Dodgers own a 5-2 record in Maeda’s past seven trips to the mound, while posting a 7-0-1 mark to the UNDER in his previous eight starts overall. Last season, Maeda dominated the Angels as a -200 home favorite in a 4-0 victory as he tossed seven scoreless innings.

Felix Pena makes his fourth start for the Angels since entering the rotation in late June. The right-hander picked up his first win as an Angel in a 7-1 rout of the Orioles in his last outing as he went 5.1 innings and allowed five hits. The Halos have won six of their last eight home openers, while the two southern California rivals split four matchups in 2017.

Betcha didn’t know: The Marlins built a seemingly safe 9-0 lead over the Nationals on Thursday before melting down and falling, 14-12. Not only were Washington money-line winners ecstatic, but those that bet on the run-line with the Nats were also victorious. That victory marked Washington’s 12th consecutive win over Miami dating back to last season as 10 of those triumphs have come by two runs or more.

Biggest public favorite: Red Sox (-320) at Royals

Biggest public underdog: Braves (+115) at Brewers

Biggest line move: Twins (-118 to -135) vs. Orioles

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

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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