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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:03 PM

Wednesday's Diamond Notes

Hottest team: Cardinals (9-1 last 10)

Less than a month ago, St. Louis sat with a .500 record at 51-51 after dropping two of three at Cincinnati. The Cardinals have caught fire ever since by winning 14 of their last 18 games, including seven consecutive victories. St. Louis pulled off a three-game sweep of rival Kansas City last weekend, followed by a pair of home wins over a fading Washington squad to pull within four games of first place Chicago in the NL Central.

The Redbirds have done most of their damage of late from the plate by scoring at least six runs in each of their last six wins. Austin Gomber takes the mound for the Cardinals in the third game of their four-game set with the Nationals tonight as the southpaw is coming off a five-inning scoreless effort against Kansas City in his past start.

Coldest team: Astros (0-5 last five)

The wheels are falling off the wagon for the defending champion Astros, who haven’t won a home game since July 14. Amazingly, Houston hasn’t picked up a victory at Minute Maid Park in the second half of the season by compiling an 0-8 mark in its last eight home contests. The latest setback came in Tuesday’s 5-1 loss to the Rockies as a -200 favorite, marking eight units lost by Houston in the last four home games alone.

Houston’s offense can take blame for this recent skid by scoring three runs or less in seven of the past eight games, while Jose Altuve and George Springer remain sidelined. The Astros try to pick up a split of their two-game set with the Rockies as Gerrit Cole looks to not only end the team’s skid, but his own personal slump. Cole is winless in his last three starts, while allowing seven earned runs in his past two outings.

Hottest pitcher: Robbie Erlin, Padres (2-3, 3.36 ERA)

San Diego is coming off a successful series against Philadelphia this past weekend, but the Padres are on the verge of getting swept by the Angels at home. Erlin is coming off a pair of solid performances as a road underdog as the Padres beat the Cubs and Brewers on their recent road trip. The southpaw tossed five innings in each of those two starts, including allowing two hits and one earned run in a 6-1 victory at Chicago. Erlin is seeking his first win at Petco Park since September 2015 against Arizona, but the Padres are 2-6 this season when trying to avoid a home sweep.

Coldest pitcher: Jose Urena, Marlins (3-12, 4.74 ERA)

Urena won 14 games last season, but has dropped 12 decisions in 2018 as he seeks his fourth win of the season tonight in Atlanta. The Miami right-hander has yielded 16 hits and 10 earned runs in his past two starts, losses to division rivals New York and Philadelphia. Urena was knocked around by Atlanta the last time he faced them in late July by giving up five earned runs in a 12-1 defeat. In three starts this season against the Braves, Urena is 0-3, but the Marlins are 4-3 in his past seven outings.

Biggest OVER run: Reds (5-1 last six)

Cincinnati’s offense carried them from June through July, but the runs are drying up. The Reds have been limited to six runs in the last three losses to the Diamondbacks and Indians after scoring six against Arizona last Saturday. The reason for this recent OVER run has been poor pitching as the Reds have given up 9, 10, and 8 runs the past three games. The Reds try to avoid the sweep against the Indians tonight as Robert Stephenson makes his second start this season for Cincinnati. Stephenson lasted four innings in an 8-0 loss to the Mets his last time out, while he opposes Cleveland’s Shane Bieber, who is riding a three-start UNDER streak.

Biggest UNDER run: Twins (6-1 last seven)

Minnesota bounced back from a tough road trip to rally past Pittsburgh, 5-2 on Tuesday to cash its fourth straight UNDER. The offense didn’t produce more than four runs in any of their previous seven games prior to last night’s victory. Minnesota seeks the two-game sweep of Pittsburgh as both teams send out strong right-handers to the mound as Jose Berrios opposes Chris Archer. Berrios has suffered plenty of ups and downs since late June as the Twins are 3-5 in his past eight starts, while the OVER has hit in his last two home outings.

Matchup to watch: Giants vs. Dodgers

The heated rivalry between San Francisco and Los Angeles reached another boiling point on Tuesday as Dodgers’ outfielder Yasiel Puig was ejected after starting a benches-clearing brawl following a scuffle with Giants’ catcher Nick Hundley. The Giants knocked off the Dodgers for the second straight night with a ninth-inning rally as San Francisco broke a 1-1 tie to pick up a 2-1 victory as +175 underdogs.

The Giants seek the sweep of the Dodgers tonight at Chavez Ravine as San Francisco has won each of Derek Holland’s last three starts. Holland wasn’t sharp in his past outing against Pittsburgh by giving up 10 hits and five runs in 6.1 innings of a 13-10 victory. The Giants have dropped two of Holland’s three starts against the Dodgers this season, but San Francisco has won five of nine matchups at Los Angeles.

Los Angeles is in the midst of a five-game skid as Hyun-Jin Ryu tries to put the Dodgers back on the winning track. Ryu is making his first start since May 2 as he has been sidelined with a groin injury. The left-hander put up a solid 2.12 ERA in his first six starts of the season, which included a no-decision against the Giants in a 6-4 loss on April 27. The Dodgers are looking to avoid their second home sweep of the season as Cincinnati pulled the broom on Los Angeles in a four-game set back in May.

Betcha didn’t know: The Mets were tripped up by the Orioles on Tuesday, but New York sends out right-hander Zack Wheeler to the mound tonight. Wheeler is undefeated in his last six starts for New York, while tossing at least seven innings in four of his past five outings. The last time Wheeler faced the Orioles at Citi Field earlier this season, he scattered three hits in seven scoreless innings, but the Mets dropped a 1-0 decision.

Biggest public favorite: Braves (-220) vs. Marlins

Biggest public underdog: Phillies (+105) vs. Red Sox

Biggest line move: Padres (-115 to -125) vs. Angels

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

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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