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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:58 PM

Friday's Diamond Notes

Editor's Note: Kevin Rogers is the MLB guaranteed leader at +2,784 units and is coming off a 3-1 Thursday. He is locked and loaded with five Friday night winners. Click to win!

Hottest team: Rays (8-1 last nine)

Tampa Bay continues to roll since getting shut down by Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers in a 7-3 loss on May 21. The Rays have lost only once since while capturing series wins over the Indians and Blue Jays. Tampa Bay made a bold statement against AL Central-leading Minnesota in Thursday’s 14-3 rout of Twins to improve to 35-19 on the season. The Rays reached double-digit runs for the fourth time this season, while not allowing more than three runs for the ninth consecutive game.

Tampa Bay continues its series with Minnesota on Friday night at Tropicana Field as reliever Ryne Stanek takes the mound in another bullpen-by-committee production for the Rays. Tampa Bay has won seven of eight home starts made by Stanek this season, although he has not pitched more than two innings in any of those outings. The Rays enter this contest owning a solid 8-2 mark in Game 2’s of a series at the Trop this season.

Coldest team: Blue Jays (1-7 last eight)

All of the focus in Toronto is on the Raptors after capturing Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday. The Blue Jays haven’t been as fortunate of late by picking up only seven victories in May with none of those coming in consecutive games. Toronto was swept at Tampa Bay earlier this week, while plating only seven runs in the series and suffering its third road sweep of the season.

The Jays travel to Colorado for a weekend interleague set with the suddenly-hot Rockies, who are coming off a four-game sweep of Arizona. Toronto sends out the ageless wonder in Edwin Jackson to the hill in the series opener as the right-hander is winless in three starts since joining the Jays, while allowing 13 runs in his past two outings. Toronto has won five road series openers in 2019, as the Jays are 1-1 this season when listed as an away underdog of +200 or higher.

Hottest pitcher: Patrick Corbin, Nationals (5-2, 2.85 ERA)

All of the sudden, Washington is starting to look like a winning baseball team. Albeit, it’s a two-game winning streak, but the Nationals have won five of six contests and dropped 14 runs on the Braves in Wednesday’s blowout at SunTrust Park. Corbin is fresh off his best start as a National by tossing a complete game shutout in a 5-0 victory over Miami last Saturday, while compiling his ninth quality start in 11 outings. Corbin faces the Reds in the series opener as the Nationals try to improve on a 4-14 record in Game 1’s of a series, including a dreadful 1-9 mark off a win.

Coldest pitcher: Chris Archer, Pirates (1-5, 5.75 ERA)

Pittsburgh has been a solid road team this season at 17-13, but the Pirates have stumbled at PNC Park by losing seven of their last eight home contests. The Pirates fell behind early 5-1 in Thursday’s 11-5 setback to the Brewers to drop to 3-8 in the last 11 games overall. Archer has struggled this season by owning a 1-5 record and 5.75 ERA, while the Bucs are 0-6 in the right-hander’s last six appearances. Archer hasn’t lasted past the fifth inning in five straight starts, while losing two outings to the Brewers last season as he faces Milwaukee on Friday.

Biggest OVER run: Dodgers (9-1 last 10)

Los Angeles had its nine-game OVER streak snapped in Thursday’s 2-0 shutout of the Mets. Prior to that low-scoring output, the Dodgers scored seven runs or more in each of their seven victories, including nine runs each in the first two wins of their series against New York. The Dodgers welcome in the Phillies in a battle of division leaders at Chavez Ravine as Kenta Maeda has seen the UNDER cash in three consecutive home starts. The Phillies are currently on a 5-2 run to the OVER away from Citizens Bank Park.

Biggest UNDER run: Tigers (5-1-1 last seven)

Detroit is fresh off a rare series victory by taking two of three at Baltimore. The Tigers rode strong pitching in the two wins by allowing two runs, although Detroit failed to score more than four runs in any game of that series. Detroit’s offense isn’t shattering any records anytime soon as the Tigers have been held to four runs or less in 14 of the past 15 games. The Tigers head to Atlanta for an interleague set with the Braves as former University of Alabama standout Spencer Turnbull takes the mound. Turnbull has drilled the UNDER in all five of his starts away from Comerica Park this season.

Matchup to watch: Cubs vs. Cardinals

The race for the top spot in the NL Central continues to heat up as the Cubs and Brewers each own 31 victories. Chicago holds a one-game edge over Milwaukee heading into the weekend as the Cubs travel to St. Louis for the first time this season. The Cubs pulled off a three-game sweep of the Redbirds at Wrigley Field in early May, while scoring 23 runs in the series.

Chicago hasn’t been sharp lately by losing five of its past seven games, but avoided a sweep at Houston in Wednesday’s 2-1 triumph over the Astros. Yu Darvish takes the ball in the series opener at Busch Stadium as the right-hander has not figured in a decision in his last five starts. However, the Cubs have won four of his past six outings, including a 6-5 victory over the Cardinals on May 4 in spite of Darvish allowing five runs in four innings.

The Cardinals have lost 14 of their past 20 contests, but grabbed a getaway day win over the Phillies on Thursday, 5-3. St. Louis has not won back-to-back games since April 30 and May 1 at Washington, while losing seven in a row off a victory. Miles Mikolas has dropped three consecutive starts for St. Louis after the Cardinals won six of his first eight outings of 2019. Mikolas didn’t face the Cubs at Wrigley earlier this month, as the righty is riding a five-start UNDER streak, while tossing seven innings in three of his past four trips to the hill.

Betcha didn’t know: The Yankees and Red Sox hook up tonight in the Bronx. You probably knew that, but it is Game 1 of their series after last night’s contest was wiped off due to impending storms in the area. Boston and New York have gone in different directions in series openers this season with the Red Sox owning a 6-12 mark, while the Yankees are 14-4 in Game 1’s. However, Boston has won five consecutive games when coming off back-to-back losses.

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

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