Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:03 PM
Wednesday's Diamond Notes
Hottest team: Cardinals (18-3 last 21)
St. Louis has gone from not being in the playoff picture last month to leading the National League Wild Card race as August wraps up. The Cardinals finished their road trip at Los Angeles and Colorado with an impressive 5-1 record and avoided a letdown in Tuesday’s 5-2 home victory over Pittsburgh. In eight of the last 10 games, the Cardinals have allowed three runs or less, led by right-hander Jack Flaherty, as St. Louis went 5-0 in his five August starts.
The Cards own an 8-2 mark in their past 10 games at Busch Stadium, as Miles Mikolas takes the mound against the Pirates. Mikolas continues to have a resurgence after not pitching in the Majors since 2014 as St. Louis has compiled a 9-1 record in his last 10 starts dating back to Independence Day. The one team Mikolas hasn’t been sharp against is Pittsburgh as the Cardinals are 1-2 in his three starts versus the Bucs, including a 4-0 home loss in June.
Coldest team: Phillies (2-8 last 10)
A playoff berth is slowly slipping away from Philadelphia, who has put together one of the top turnarounds in baseball. The Phillies blew a 3-0 lead in Tuesday’s 5-4 home setback to the Nationals as Washington scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to waste a solid outing by Aaron Nola. Philadelphia sits four games behind Atlanta for the top spot in the National League East and 2 ½ games back of Milwaukee for the second Wild Card position in the National League.
The Phillies try to avoid the sweep tonight as former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta heads to the hill. Arrieta has lost three consecutive starts and Philadelphia is 0-4 in his past four outings dating back to August 6. The Phillies have split Arrieta’s two starts against Washington this season, while Philadelphia is 4-2 in the right-hander’s last six starts at Citizens Bank Park.
Hottest pitcher: Mike Minor, Rangers (10-6, 4.40 ERA)
Texas remains at the bottom of the AL West, but the lone bright spot on the mound has been Minor. In his four starts since late July, the Rangers are 4-0, including underdog victories over the Astros, Yankees, and Athletics. Minor shut down the potent Oakland offense in his last start by allowing one hit in six scoreless innings of a 4-2 victory at the Coliseum last Wednesday to avoid the sweep to the A’s. The southpaw will be tested again in the ‘dog role tonight against the Dodgers as Texas tries to avoid the season sweep by Los Angeles.
Coldest pitcher: Zack Godley, Diamondbacks (13-7, 4.59 ERA)
Arizona’s pitching has been solid in two games against San Francisco by allowing three runs. However, the D-backs’ offense hasn’t pushed a single run across in a pair of losses, including a disappointing 1-0 walk-off defeat to the Giants on Tuesday. Godley has struggled of late as the Arizona right-hander hasn’t lasted past the fifth inning in his last two outings against the Padres and Mariners, while yielding 15 hits and 11 earned runs. The last time Godley faced the Giants at Chase Field on July 1, he was tagged for seven runs in four innings of a 9-6 setback.
Biggest OVER run: Brewers (5-1 last six)
Milwaukee fell behind Cincinnati, 6-0 after two innings on Tuesday, but the Brewers rallied to get within 7-6 through 6 ½ innings. The OVER of 9 easily cashed, but Milwaukee fell short in a 9-7 defeat, the second time the Brewers have lost to the Reds by that score in a week. The Brewers’ offense scored seven runs for the third time in four games as Milwaukee tries to end a 3-8 skid on the road. Freddy Peralta tossed seven scoreless innings against the Reds at Miller Park last week in a 4-0 victory, while Reds’ starter Matt Harvey has cashed the UNDER in four of his last five starts overall.
Biggest UNDER run: Diamondbacks (6-2 last eight)
Arizona’s offense hasn’t scored a run in the last 18 innings at San Francisco and has come up dry in the past 23 innings overall. The pitching staff has allowed five runs in the previous three games, while Arizona has hit the UNDER in six of the past eight series finales since the end of July. San Francisco is riding a 5-1 UNDER stretch the last six games as rookie Dereck Rodriguez takes the hill tonight. Rodriguez has cashed the UNDER in seven of the past nine starts overall, including two of the last three at AT&T Park.
Matchup to watch: Rays vs. Braves
Tampa Bay had its eight-game winning streak halted in Tuesday’s 9-5 defeat at Atlanta, as the Rays allowed more runs last night than they did in their previous four games combined. The Braves exploded for a pair of four-run inning, while gaining a valuable game on the Phillies for the top spot in the NL East race.
The two squads wrap up their two-game interleague series at SunTrust Park as Atlanta goes for the season sweep of Tampa Bay. Sean Newcomb takes the mound for the Braves as Atlanta has won five of the southpaw’s last six starts since late July. Newcomb has either been great or terrible recently as allowed one earned run or less four times in this stretch, but was knocked around in two other starts by giving up 21 hits and 12 earned runs in home starts against the Brewers and Rockies.
The Rays turn to another reliever to start tonight as Diego Castillo makes his third start in the last 10 days. Granted, Castillo didn’t last past the second inning, but Tampa Bay won both outings against Boston as an underdog. Since dropping the final three games at Baltimore in late July, the Rays are 5-5 in their last 10 contests away from Tropicana Field, which includes three victories over the Red Sox and Yankees.
Betcha didn’t know: The Indians won Adam Plutko’s first three starts this season, but Cleveland has dropped four of his past five starts. Cleveland routed Minnesota on Tuesday, 8-1, as the Twins have scored five runs in the previous four games, all losses. Since a four-game road winning streak in late July, the Twins have lost 10 of their past 13 games away from Target Field.
Biggest public favorite: Red Sox (-300) vs. Marlins
Biggest public underdog: Tigers (+103) at Royals
Biggest line move: Rays (+145 to +135) at Braves
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]
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