Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:03 AM
Friday's Diamond Notes
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Hottest team: A's (9-3 last 12, 30-10 +2500 last 40)
After scoring only four runs in Colorado, wasting a great effort from a pitching staff that only surrendered 10 over a three-game span at Coors Field, the A’s have gotten back on track with a sweep of the Blue Jays. They’ve won 75 percent of their games since June 16 and have moved back ahead of Seattle for the second wild card spot behind the Yankees.
Oakland (-175) will be favored all weekend after outscoring Toronto by 24-6 margin in breaking out the brooms and sends lefty Brett Anderson (2-3, 5.55) to the mound for this series opener against fellow southpaw Blaine Hardy (4-3, 3.61). The A’s are 3-1 in Anderson’s starts since returning from the disabled list but have only seen him pitch once at County Stadium all season, his first back with the team since leaving in 2013. The Astros beat him for nine runs on 10 hits over three innings in a 16-2 loss in May.
Coldest team: Marlins (0-3 last three, 3-7, -315 last 10)
The Fish had some fun frustrating the Nationals in consecutive games but fell in Atlanta twice before being rained out and lost the opener of a four-game set in Philadelphia on Thursday, faltering 5-2. They won two of three over the Phillies entering the All-Star break and will look to cool off the surprising NL East leaders, who they will have nine games remaining against counting tonight.
Rookie Trevor Richards (3-5, 4.06) has been a bright spot of late, coming off six shutout innings in a weekend win over Washington and is 1-0 with a 2.30 ERA over his last five outings, so there will probably be some takers on Miami as a ‘dog of about +160. Philadelphia is countering with Vince Velasquez, who is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA since June 8 and has dominated hitters. He’s been terribly inconsistent throughout his short career and is just 5-5 with a 5.31 ERA at Citizens Bank Park this season. Velasquez won his only start against the Marlins this season and is 3-1 against them over his short career. Philly is playing its only four home games in the midst of a 16-game stretch, so continuing to play well is vital. The Phils have won 11 of their last 14 there.
Hottest pitcher: Marco Gonzales, Mariners (12-5, 3.37)
Over his last 12 starts, the Mariners have won 10 times, which included five straight decisions from June 29-July 29. He’s given up six runs over the past 34 innings, walking just five hitters while striking out 31. Gonzales has the Mariners heavily favored (-160) to rebound from last night’s upset loss to the Blue Jays, who counter with promising rookie lefty Ryan Borucki, who hasn’t allowed a home run in 35 innings. He’s put together five quality starts in his six outings but has pitched in four losses due to three runs of support combined, which bodes well for Gonzales if his groove continues. Seattle’s lefty has never faced anyone in the Toronto lineup besides Troy Tulowitzki, who hasn’t played all season.
Coldest pitcher: Luis Severino, Yankees (14-4, 2.94)
Severino has given up more home runs in his past four starts (7) than he had in his previous 18. He’s failed to get through more than five innings in any of those starts and has dropped consecutive decisions for the first time since last July. The 24-year-old now has to snap out of his slump in time to play stopper with New York in danger of dropping three straight games on the heels of a 15-7 Thursday thumping. The Red Sox could put major distance between themselves and the Yankees if they continue to rake, so their Dominican ace has to step up. He pitched in an 11-1 win on July 1 over the Red Sox and a 3-2 win on May 8 after suffering his first loss of the season in April by a 14-1 count. He’s 3-5 over 11 career appearances against Boston and 1-2 at Fenway, though he’s never given up a home run there. Andrew Benintendi has owned him, hitting 10-for-22 with a pair of homers. Severino will be opposed Rick Porcello but the Yanks are still favored (-130).
Biggest OVER run: Diamondbacks (6-1 last seven)
Only the Cubs (-200) were a larger favorite on Friday morning than the Snakes (-190), who send Patrick Corbin to the mound in the midst of a nice run that has seen him give up two or fewer runs in five of his last seven starts. That might give you pause in backing Arizona's run on the high side to continue despite the number (8.5). Madison Bumgarner ended a D'Backs run of scoring at least five runs in six straight games and 10 of their last 11. Chris Stratton (8-6, 5.14) is coming off the disabled list but was terrific in his only appearance at Chase Field this season, allowing one run over seven innings.
Biggest UNDER run: Twins (9-3 last 12)
The Twins moved Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar, so it’s no surprise that there’s been a power outage of late. Minnesota has scored three or fewer runs in five of their last seven and will look to try and break through after a day off against Royals rookie Heath Fillmyer (0-1, 3.29). Jake Odorizzi (4-7, 4.58) has been inconsistent of late, but the books are bullish on him winning this duel despite a 4.44 ERA over five July starts and a rough history against Alex Gordon and Whit Merrifield, posting the slumping Twins as a heavy chalk (-185). Kansas City at +170 could be tempting, especially since Fillmyer gained confidence in pitching well against the Yankees over the weekend. The total has been set at 9.
Matchup to watch: Astros vs. Dodgers
Houston rolls into L.A. as the betting co-favorite (9/4 per Westgate) in the American League alongside Boston. The Dodgers are the N.L. co-favorite with the Cubs (5/2). So, yes, these teams may indeed meet in a second straight World Series, which makes this one tremendous sneak peek.
The Astros are looking for their 70th win, while the Dodgers come off a 21-run explosion in last night's rout of the Brewers to move back into sole possession of first in the NL West. This is definitely a summit meeting, one that [...]s are granting the proper respect in this opener, basically labeling it a pick'em. .
Kenta Maeda opposes Lance McCullers, Jr. on Saturday and the series wraps up with a great matchup between impressive rookie Walker Buehler and Gerrit Cole, but this series opener has plenty of juice even though Clayton Kershaw worked last night. Lefty Alex Wood (7-5, 3.68) has won his last six decisions and was excellent in last year's postseason against Houston, alllowing one run in 7.2 innings. Justin Verlander (10-6, 2.24) started a pair of games in the 2017 Fall Classic and contributed to the title run, so this is a good spot for him to bounce back since he's 1-4 with a 3.54 ERA over his last eight starts.
Chase Utley landed on the DL for the Dodgers, but Brian Dozier has hit the ground running since being acquired from the Twins and has helped his new team's reach another level. The Astros come in banged up with Jose Altuve (knee), Carlos Correa (back) and Brian McCann (knee) all on the DL and reigning World Series MVP George Springer nursing a sore shoulder.
Betcha didn’t know: Chris Archer didn’t face the Cardinals in his first five seasons in the bigs but finally ran into them for the first time late last August, so it’s interesting they’re who he is matched up against in his first start as National League pitcher. Archer struck out eight Cards in seven innings, one of his finest outings of the season. That means the only hitter he’ll be facing who has had any success against him in the majors will be Greg Garcia, who has two hits in three at-bats. The other Cardinals who have seen him, are a combined 3-for-22 (.136). Archer has only pitched one game at his new home ballpark, losing a 4-0 decision at PNC Park, giving up a pair of homers over an otherwise solid six innings. He’s struck out 50 and allowed only two homers over the last 43.1 innings in Tampa, so the Pirates are hoping he’ll be able to carry that form over to help aid Pittsburgh’s two-month push towards a playoff berth that seemed highly unlikely when the season began. The Pirates are a heavy favorite in the -140/-150 range against the Cards, who come into town with an identical 56-53 record and will throw young John Gant (3-4, 3.49) out there.
Biggest public favorite: Diamondbacks (-185) vs. Giants
Biggest public underdog: Tigers (+165) vs. A's
Biggest line move: Pirates (-133 to -150) vs. Cardinals
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