Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM

Friday's Diamond Notes

Hottest team: Braves (7-0 last seven)

Following a pair of sweeps over the Marlins and Pirates, the Braves have vaulted into the top spot of the NL East at 40-29. Atlanta became the second National League team to reach the 40-win mark after knocking off Pittsburgh on Thursday, 6-5 to pull off a four-game sweep at SunTrust Park. The Braves’ offense has heated up during this stretch by scoring at least seven runs five times, while cashing the OVER six times.

Atlanta remains at home to welcome in Philadelphia for the first time this season. The Braves look to avenge a three-game sweep by the Phillies to begin the 2019 campaign, but Atlanta swept Philadelphia in a four-game set last September to basically wrap up the division title. Max Fried takes the mound for the Braves in the opener, as Atlanta has won five of his past six starts. Fried is coming off a pair of no-decisions in road wins at Miami and Pittsburgh, as the Braves have scored at least seven runs in four of his past five trips to the mound.

Coldest team: Pirates (0-7 last seven)

Pittsburgh’s last win came at home against Atlanta on June 6. The Pirates are coming off sweeps at the hands of a pair of playoff teams from 2018 as Pittsburgh dropped three games at Milwaukee and four in Atlanta. In fact, the Pirates have lost nine of their last 10 games away from PNC Park, while allowing at least five runs in all seven defeats on this current road trip.

The Bucs will try to turn around their luck with a trip to south Florida this weekend to face the last-place Marlins. Steven Brault gets the ball for Pittsburgh on Friday, as the Pirates have won three of his five starts this season. Brault hasn’t yielded more than two runs in any of his past three appearances, but the Pirates dropped his last two starts to the Braves and Brewers.

Hottest pitcher: Lucas Giolito, White Sox (9-1, 2.28 ERA)

It’s not a crazy statement to make in mid-June that Giolito is one of the leaders to win the American League Cy Young award. Giolito has won seven consecutive decisions since the start of May, while not allowing a run in each of his last two victories against the Indians and Royals. In this 7-0 run, the White Sox have hit the UNDER in each of Giolito’s seven starts, as Chicago’s opponents have been limited to one run or less six times. The right-hander is listed as a short favorite against the Yankees, as Chicago rallied from a 4-0 deficit on Thursday to shock New York, 5-4.

Coldest pitcher: Brad Keller, Royals (3-8, 4.29 ERA)

Kansas City took two of three from Detroit for its first series win since sweeping Cleveland back in mid-April. The Royals have lost 10 of their last 11 games off a victory as Kansas City travels to Minnesota to face the top team in the AL Central. Keller is actually coming off a pair of quality starts in his last two outings against Chicago and Texas, but the Royals scored a combined one run in those defeats. The Royals own a dreadful 1-8 record in Keller’s last nine starts, while allowing three runs in six innings of a 5-4 home defeat to the Twins in April.

Biggest OVER run: Twins (8-1-1 last 10)

Minnesota’s offense continues to click as the Twins reached double-digit runs in a game for the eighth time this season in Thursday’s 10-5 triumph over the Mariners. The last five OVERS for the Twins in this stretch have been on totals of 9 ½ or higher, but Minnesota has scored at least six runs four times, while allowing at five runs or more in the past three games against Seattle. Kyle Gibson starts for Minnesota in Friday’s opener against Kansas City, as the right-hander has cashed the OVER in six of seven road games, but this game takes place at Target Field, where he is 3-1 to the UNDER.

Biggest UNDER run: Reds (9-0 last nine)

Cincinnati returns home from a 3-4 road trip, which saw the Reds split a pair of contests with the cross-state rival Indians. The Reds continue to receive solid pitching by allowing four runs or less in eight consecutive games, while giving up a total of four runs against Cleveland. Cincinnati faces another interleague opponent this weekend as Texas invades the Great American Ballpark. Tyler Mahle has made 12 starts for the Reds this season, but only three have come at home. Cincinnati has posted an 8-3-1 mark to the UNDER when Mahle is on the mound, while the Reds have scored two runs or fewer in six of those outings.

Matchup to watch: Brewers vs. Giants

Milwaukee can become the third National League team to reach 40 victories with a win on Friday at San Francisco. The Brewers held off the Astros in 14 innings on Wednesday, 6-3 to pick up their sixth win in the last nine games away from Miller Park. Milwaukee is making its second trip to California this season as the Brewers posted a 2-4 record against the Angels and Dodgers back in April.

San Francisco is coming off back-to-back home wins for the first time in two months after sweeping a two-game set from slumping San Diego. The Giants have won six of their last 10 contests, which includes three victories in series openers. San Francisco struggled with Milwaukee last season by dropping six of seven matchups, including three of four at Oracle Park.

Zach Davies owns a perfect 7-0 mark on the mound for the Brewers this season, while defeating the Pirates in each of his last two starts. The Milwaukee right-hander has compiled a solid 1.88 ERA on the highway, but the Brewers are 4-3 in his seven road starts. Davies is one of the top UNDER pitchers in baseball as the Brewers are 11-2 to the UNDER in his 13 starts, including six UNDERS away from Miller Park.

Drew Pomeranz counters for San Francisco, as the Giants’ southpaw outdueled Clayton Kershaw in a 2-1 victory his last time out. Although Pomeranz didn’t figure in the decision, he tossed five scoreless innings and struck out seven batters to help San Francisco cash as a +215 underdog. Beware with Pomeranz as the veteran hurler has allowed five runs or more in three of his past five starts, but has cashed as a heavy ‘dog of +170 or higher three times this season.

Betcha didn’t know: The Nationals look to bounce back after getting blanked by the Diamondbacks in the opener of their four-game set on Thursday. Cy Young winner Max Scherzer takes the mound on Friday looking to capitalize on a pair of solid road outings in wins at Cincinnati and San Diego. However, the Nationals own a dreadful 0-7 mark in Scherzer’s seven home starts this season, while the D-backs are riding a 7-1 run the last eight games.

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

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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