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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:03 PM

Wednesday's Diamond Notes

Hottest team: Pirates (14-3 last 17)

Pittsburgh continues its ascent towards a potential Wild Card berth after winning its ninth home game in its past 11 tries on Tuesday. The Pirates held off the Cubs, 5-4 to creep within six games of first place in the NL Central and three games of the second Wild Card position in the National League. In the past 14 games, the Pirates are 11-1 when they score at least one run. Yes, for as silly as it sounds, Pittsburgh has been shut out twice in this stretch and lost a 12-6 decision to the Mets last Friday, but won the other 11 contests when scoring at least once.

The Pirates will square off against recently acquired pitcher Cole Hamels tonight in the second game of their series with the Cubs. Nick Kingham looks to bounce back for Pittsburgh after getting knocked around for six runs and seven hits in three innings in that six-run loss to the Mets last Friday. Kingham has won his previous three starts, while trying to beat the Cubs for the first time in three outings this season.

Coldest team: Marlins (3-6 last nine)

Miami has struggled through the first two games of this series by getting outscored, 16-9 in a pair of losses to Atlanta. In fact, the Braves have scored at least eight runs against the Marlins in four of the past six matchups since May. Miami dropped three consecutive games only once in July, but own a 3-6 record since a four-game winning streak from July 14-21.

Pablo Lopez has seen several ups and downs in his brief Major League career as he has allowed two earned runs or less in two starts, while giving up at least four runs in his other three outings. Lopez has not faced the Braves yet this season, but yielded four runs and nine hits in 5.2 innings of a 9-1 beating by the Nationals last Friday.

Hottest pitcher: Kyle Freeland, Rockies (9-6, 3.13 ERA)

Colorado put together a perfect July record when Freeland took the mound by going 5-0 in his five starts last month. Freeland yielded one earned run or less in three of those outings, while coming off a scoreless effort in a 3-1 home victory over the Athletics last Friday. The Rockies have won each of Freeland’s last two starts away from Coors Field, although he picked up no-decisions at Arizona and Seattle. Freeland is also riding an incredible UNDER run as the Rockies are 8-1 in his last nine outings, even though five of those UNDER came on totals of 10 or higher.

Coldest pitcher: Jakob Junis, Royals (5-11, 5.06 ERA)

Kansas City sits at the bottom of the AL Central as Junis has been ice-cold since the end of May. The Royals began the season with a 7-3 mark in Junis’ first 10 starts, but own a dreadful 1-8 record in his past nine trips to the mound. In five of the previous seven starts, Junis has been tagged for five runs or more, including allowing seven runs in 4.2 innings of a 7-2 setback to the Yankees last Thursday. Junis looks for better run support from his teammates as Kansas City’s lineup has tallied three runs or fewer in seven of his last eight starts.

Biggest OVER run: Rays (4-0 last four)

Following an embarrassing weekend in a three-game sweep by the last-place Orioles, the Rays rebounded in Tuesday’s 10-6 victory over the Angels. Tampa Bay allowed double-digit runs in all three losses at Baltimore and while they gave up six runs last night, the Rays got their offense on track after scoring five runs or fewer in its previous six games. Tyler Glasnow makes his Tampa Bay debut following Tuesday’s trade with Pittsburgh for Chris Archer. Glasnow has yet to start a game this season, but knowing manager Kevin Cash’s unorthodox way of starting relievers, that isn’t a surprise that the right-hander will start.

Biggest UNDER run: Dodgers (5-0 last five)

The Dodgers’ offense is nowhere to be found right now as Los Angeles has plated a total of three runs in the last three games. Los Angeles was shut out for the first time since June 20 in Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to Milwaukee, while suffering its first three-game losing streak since late June. Rich Hill heads to the mound for the Dodgers this evening as the southpaw has cashed the OVER in each of his last two starts, while receiving 14 runs or support in those victories over the Brewers and Braves.

Matchup to watch: Brewers vs. Dodgers

Milwaukee and Los Angeles continue their four-game series at Chavez Ravine after the Brewers have captured the first two games. Lorenzo Cain’s RBI double in the third inning held up in a 1-0 victory for Milwaukee on Tuesday as a +155 underdog, while left-hander Wade Miley tossed seven scoreless innings and allowed two hits.

Manny Machado’s six-game hitting streak came to a halt on Tuesday, while the top six batters in the Dodgers’ lineup combined to go 0-for-19. The Dodgers have lost four of Rich Hill’s six home starts this season, with all four defeats coming as a favorite of -180 or lower. Hill defeated the Brewers at Miller Park on July 20 by striking out nine batters and scattering five hits in six innings of a 6-3 victory.

Chase Anderson has allowed two earned runs or fewer in seven consecutive starts for Milwaukee, while hitting the UNDER in five straight outings. Anderson picked up a no-decision the last time he faced the Dodgers on June 21, but the Brewers topped Los Angeles, 4-2 to cash as a +150 home underdog. The Brewers have won four straight starts made by Anderson as a ‘dog of +110 or more, but his teams (Milwaukee and Arizona) own a 1-5 record in his last six outings against Los Angeles since 2015.

Betcha didn’t know: Houston ended a five-game losing streak in Tuesday’s 5-2 victory at Seattle. Dallas Keuchel looks to rebound off a loss as a hefty -260 home favorite against Texas in his last start as the Astros have won each of his past four starts away from Minute Maid Park. Keuchel is winless in two starts against Seattle this season, while Mariners’ left-hander Wade LeBlanc is undefeated in nine home starts.

Biggest public favorite: Yankees (-270) vs. Orioles

Biggest public underdog: Rockies (+120) at Cardinals

Biggest line move: Astros (-130 to -145) at Mariners

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

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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