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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:03 PM

Weekend Watch

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Close Shaves

The Oakland Athletics easily lead the way in one-run games, winning 22 of 31 decided by one run. It's a bit of a surprise to some that the Seattle Mariners, as well as the A's, are in contention in the American League West. A major reason for their success has been their ability to win the close games. It also helps that they have a stud assigned to ninth-inning duties when they have the lead. All-Star closers Edwin Diaz and Blake Treinen aren't coughing up the leads when the manager entrusts them to close out ball games. The teams on this list with rough records in one-run games have had a bullpen in flux, and closers either struggling or suffering injuries at various points this season.

2018 One-Run Games Record (through 8/9)
Team Record (Win % - GR) Team Record (Win % - GR)
Oakland 22-9 (.710) Cincinnati 8-18 (.308)
Seattle 28-14 (.667) Minnesota 9-19 (.321)
Atlanta 15-8 (.652) N.Y. Mets 10-21 (.323)
Philadelphia 20-11 (.645) Baltimore 11-22 (.333)
Boston 18-10 (.643) Chicago White Sox 10-20 (.333)

Looking Ahead

Saturday, Aug. 11

The Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros battle each other in a key American League West contest. The M's have won three of their past 10 games heading into Friday's tilt, and they're just 2-5 in their past seven on the road against right-handed starting pitching. They're also just 3-8 in the past 11 road outings. Perhaps Wade LeBlanc will snap them out of their mini funk, as the M's are 19-7 over his past 26 starts and 9-1 in his past 10 when working on four days of rest. However, be careful, as Seattle has dropped each of his past five assignments on the road when facing a team with a winning overall mark. The Astros entered play Friday with six wins over their past eight contests. They're 41-20 in the past 61 against American League West foes while going 5-2 in the past seven against winning sides. Houston has also picked up victories in seven of Charlie Morton's past 10 starts, including six of his past eight at Minute Maid Park. The Astros are just 1-4 in the past five home starts by Morton against teams with a winning record, and they're just 1-6 over the past seven with Morton working on four days of rest.

Total bettors have been pounding the 'under' in LeBlanc's starts, as well as Morton's outings. The under is 4-1 in the past five outings by LeBlanc while going 3-1-1 in his past five inside the division. The under is 6-2 in Morton's past eight appearances while going 11-5 in his past 16 at home. The under has also hit in four of Morton's past five starts against the M's.

The Indians and White Sox had a pitcher's duel at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday night, and Trevor Bauer and James Shields look to duplicate the success of their predecessors. Cleveland has won five straight outings by Bauer, and they're 5-0 over Bauer's past five inside the division, too. They're also 6-1 in the past seven against teams with a losing record, while the Indians are 4-1 in Bauer's past five starts against the Pale Hose. The under is also 9-4 in Bauer's past 13 appearances against Chicago, while the under has hit in each of Big Game James' past four outings against the Tribe. For Chicago, they're a dismal 3-13 over Shields' past 16 against winning sides, and they're just 6-15 over his past 21 overall.

Cubs LHP Jon Lester was 12-2 with a 2.58 ERA in 19 starts before the All-Star break, but he is just 0-2 with an 8.53 ERA in four outings since the break with the opposition hitting .342 against him over the past 19 innings. He'll face the Nationals on Saturday. The Cubs are 10-2 over Lester's past 12 vs. NL East, and they're 17-5 in his past 22 at home against teams with a winning overall record.

Weather Report

The O's have been so poor this season that they're likely praying for rain. Their prayers might be answered, as there is a 45 percent chance of thunderstorms or greater from first pitch through 7pm ET. The Rangers and Yankees will also be watching the radar, as there is a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms all morning, tapering off to just 40 percent by 5pm ET. It wouldn't be shocking to see a postponement in this one.

Those are the only trouble spots as far as precipitation is concerned. Winds will affect the Phillies and Padres, as a breeze from 10-13 mph will be blowing left to right at Petco Park. The winds will again be blowing out to straightaway center field at AT&T Park in San Francisco from 13-16 mph, affecting the total outcome in Pirates-Giants.

Sunday, Aug. 12

CC Sabathia will face Martin Perez in a battle of southpaws on Sunday. Sabathia is coming off a 12-strikeout performance on the road against the White Sox last time out, but he hasn't won in five straight outings dating back to July 4. The good news is that he has just one loss over the past five starts. The bad news is he has walked 17 batters over the past 30 innings across his past six appearances, and he has no quality starts since that Independence Day victory against the Braves.

Orioles RHP Alex Cobb has had a forgettable first season in Charm City, going 3-14 with a 5.55 ERA and 1.51 WHIP across 116 2/3 innings over his 21 starts. One of the Boston native's wins has come against the Red Sox, a rare quality start and road win back at Fenway Park on May 18. In that game he allowed just three earned runs over 6 1/3 innings, but he also allowed 10 hits. Cobb has been better lately, however, turning in three straight quality starts. He hasn't had four straight quality starts since July 8-26 when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Giants RHP Dereck Rodriguez has been quite the find for San Francisco, and he is showing no signs of slowing down. He'll take the ball on Sunday against the visiting Pirates, and he has been even better at home. Rodriguez has posted a 3-0 record, 1.99 ERA  and 34 strikeouts over 40 2/3 innings across six starts and one relief appearance at home while the opposition is batting just .196 against him at AT&T Park. He hasn't yet faced the Pirates. The Bucs entered Friday's game on a three-game winning streak, but just 11-19 across their 30 games against American League West opponents.

Cubs LHP Cole Hamels will make his Wrigley Field debut on Sunday against the Nationals after a pair of success road outings. He has posted a 2-0 record, 0.82 ERA and 11 strikeouts over 11 innings in two road outings as a member of the Cubs. He has yet to serve up a homer while wearing a Cubs uniform, an issue which plagued him as a member of the Texas Rangers. Hamels allowed 23 long balls over 114 1/3 innings in 20 starts for the Rangers earlier this season. All-Star Max Scherzer has been phenomenal on the road, going 8-3 with a 2.00 ERA in 11 starts this season while striking out 93 batters in just 72 innings while the opposition is hitting just .182 overall against him this season.

Weather Report

The rains will stick around for Sunday in Balto., as there is a 45 percent or greater chance of thunderstorms from first pitch through the early evening. Since these teams are division rivals, it wouldn't be shocking to see this game made up at a later date. The Rangers-Yankees game will also have the same weather forecast, although it looks like there is a window around 5pm where the weather could taper off enough to allow for the game to be played.

Like Saturday, those are the only trouble spots for precipitation. While the winds will be down to 9-12 mph at Petco on Sunday, winds will again be the story in San Francisco. There will be a jetstream blowing out to straightaway center field from 13-16 mph for Pirates-Giants.

For the Sunday night game, the Nationals and Cubs will see the wind blowing in at Wrigley Field, although it will be relatively tranquil at 6-9 mph from straightaway center field. The conditions will be neutral at best, but don't expect a slugfest.

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