Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:03 AM

Friday's Diamond Notes

Hottest team: Cardinals (13-2 last 15)

St. Louis sat two games above .500 at the All-Star break and fired its longtime manager Mike Matheny prior to the second half. The Cardinals have picked things up in spite of not having the services of two of its top starting pitchers in Carlos Martinez and Adam Wainwright. St. Louis has been nothing short of terrific this month by compiling an incredible 17-4 record in August, while capturing seven series victories.

The latest series win came via a road sweep of the slumping Dodgers at Chavez Ravine, while limiting Los Angeles to a total of six runs in the series. The Cardinals face another NL West contender when they travel to Colorado on Friday. Miles Mikolas takes the mound for the Redbirds as the right-hander owns a perfect 7-0 record away from Busch Stadium this season, while St. Louis has won eight of his past nine starts overall.

Coldest team: Dodgers (3-7 last 10)

There are times when it seems Los Angeles can’t be stopped and is destined for another World Series appearance. And then there are times that the Dodgers don’t look like they belong in the playoffs. It seems like the latter instance currently as Los Angeles not only got swept at home by a red-hot St. Louis squad, but the Dodgers inexplicably fell to 32-33 at Chavez Ravine on the season. Since dropping 21 runs on Milwaukee back on August 2, the Dodgers have lost seven of their past nine home games, while scoring two runs or fewer six times.

Things should ease up this weekend as the Dodgers welcome in the last place Padres. However, Rich Hill is winless in his last two starts for Los Angeles, while allowing four earned runs in a 4-1 defeat at San Diego in July. Even though San Diego sits in the cellar of the NL West, the Padres have held their own of late in road series openers by winning in five of their last six opportunities, including at Colorado earlier this week.

Hottest pitcher: Dereck Rodriguez, Giants (6-1, 2.25 ERA)

The Giants return home after salvaging a four-game road split with the Mets. Rodriguez is back on the mound after a brief stint on the disabled list due to a hamstring injury. Prior to his injury, the San Francisco right-hander posted three consecutive starts in which he tossed seven innings each, while allowing eight hits and two earned runs. Following a 6-0 run by San Francisco in games he started, the Giants are only 2-2 in Rodriguez’s last four outings, as he faces the team his father (Pudge Rodriguez) spent many years with and where the younger Rodriguez was born, Texas.

Coldest pitcher: Ryan Borucki, Blue Jays (2-3, 4.27 ERA)

Don’t think Joe Carter is jumping through the door on Friday as the Blue Jays entertain the Phillies for a three-game interleague set. Toronto is fresh off a three-game sweep of doormat Baltimore, but Borucki has been anything but sharp of late. Borucki couldn’t escape the first inning in a 10-2 loss to the Yankees as the southpaw was tagged for six earned runs and recorded just two outs. That defeat actually snapped a five-game winning streak by Toronto in Borucki’s previous five outings, but the Jays are 1-3 in his four starts at Rogers Center this season.

Biggest OVER run: Tigers (7-2-1 last 10)

The Tigers tallied a total of four runs against the Cubs in a two-game split, but Detroit’s bats busted out against the other Chicago squad on Thursday. The Tigers scored seven runs to beat the White Sox as Detroit posted at least four runs for the sixth time in the last eight games. Three of the past four matchups between these AL Central squads have cashed the OVER as Michael Fulmer returns to the mound for the first time in five weeks for Detroit. Fulmer saw the OVER hit in his most recent start on July 14 at Houston, but the Tigers’ right-hander is riding a 4-0 UNDER streak in his past four outings at Comerica Park.

Biggest UNDER run: Pirates (7-0 last seven)

Pittsburgh is coming off an odd homestand in which it compiled a 2-5 record against the Cubs and Braves. Odd wouldn’t normally be the word with an outcome like that, but the Pirates’ pitching staff limiting those two first-place teams to two runs or less in six of those games. The only problem is Pittsburgh’s offense was nowhere to be found as the Bucs compiled one run or less in the five losses. The Pirates hit the road to Milwaukee for the weekend, trying to duplicate their success when they swept the Brewers in a five-game set prior to the All-Star break. Joe Musgrove takes the mound for Pittsburgh in the opener, as the right-hander has seen the UNDER in cash in four straight starts.

Matchup to watch: Mariners vs. Diamondbacks

Wouldn’t this be an interesting World Series matchup? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but Arizona starts the weekend as the leaders of the NL West, while Seattle still has four games to make up for the second Wild Card spot in the American League.

The D-backs are playing their second consecutive AL West opponent after pulling off a two-game home sweep of the Angels. Arizona has won six of its past eight games as Zack Godley toes the rubber in tonight’s opener. Godley owns a career-high 13 wins this season, while Arizona has won each of his past three starts at Chase Field. The right-hander’s best start of the season came against another AL West foe as he tossed seven scoreless innings and struck out 10 batters in a 6-0 victory over Texas last month.

The Mariners are coming off home series losses to last season’s World Series participants by dropping four of six to the Dodgers and Astros. Since sweeping Houston at Minute Maid Park earlier this month, the M’s own a 3-6 record to lose their spot as an AL Wild Card team. Erasmo Ramirez gets the ball tonight as Seattle’s makeshift rotation continues to struggle. However, Ramirez scattered three hits and allowed one run in five innings of his last start, a 5-4 win over the Dodgers as Seattle has won each of the past two starts made by the right-hander.

Betcha didn’t know: The Angels are a beat-up team right now with sluggers Mike Trout and Justin Upton on the disabled list. Los Angeles returns home to battle Houston as Andrew Heaney heads to the hill. The Halos have won eight of Heaney’s 11 home starts this season, including a pair of underdog wins against the Astros.

Biggest public favorite: Indians (-210) at Royals

Biggest public underdog: Mariners (+145) at Diamondbacks

Biggest line move: Cardinals (-105 to -113) at Rockies

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

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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