Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM

Thursday's Diamond Notes

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Hottest team: Yankees (5-0 last five)

New York remained atop the AL East following an impressive home sweep of Tampa Bay at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees’ staff yielded a total of four runs in the three victories, while jumping on Cy Young winner Blake Snell for six runs in the first inning of Wednesday’s 12-1 rout as a short underdog. Since losing three straight games to the Mets and White Sox in which the Yankees were tagged for 25 runs, the pitching staff has rebounded by allowing 11 runs in the past five wins.

The Yankees will be tested tonight by the team with the top record in the American League. The Astros sit in first place of the AL West at 48-27 in spite of suffering a three-game sweep at Cincinnati. New York dropped all three games at Minute Maid Park back in April, as the Yankees will go with a bullpen-by-committee approach in the series opener. Chad Green takes the mound for likely the first two innings as the right-hander has tossed two innings in his past two starts, while striking out six batters in Chicago last Saturday in an 8-4 victory over the White Sox.

Coldest team: Brewers (1-5 last six)

Milwaukee returns to Miller Park after a miserable end to its eight-game road trip. Following an exciting 14-inning triumph at Houston to pick up a split with the Astros, the Brewers dropped two of three at San Francisco and lost all three at San Diego. Starting pitching was an issue for Milwaukee on this away swing as four of the final five starters didn’t escape the fifth inning.

The Brewers will try to turn things around against the suddenly-hot Reds, who just swept the Astros at home. Right-hander Jimmy Nelson gets the ball tonight, trying to rebound from a pair of tough starts against Miami and San Francisco. Nelson allowed four runs in each of those outings, while failing to hold a 5-1 lead in an 8-7 setback to the Giants last Saturday. The only piece of good news for Milwaukee is the Brewers have won four of five games against the Reds this season.

Hottest pitcher: Jake Odorizzi, Twins (10-2, 2.24 ERA)

Minnesota lost each of Odorizzi’s first three starts this season, which included him getting racked by the Phillies in less than one inning of work. Odorizzi has been one of the top pitchers in the American League since that rough start as the Twins have won each of the right-hander’s last 11 outings, which includes six scoreless performances. The most runs Odorizzi has allowed in this hot stretch came in his most recent trip to the mound against the Royals last Saturday when he yielded four runs in a 5-4 victory as a -245 favorite. Minnesota is 5-0 in Odorizzi’s last five road starts, while the Twins have beaten the Royals in four of five meetings in 2019.

Coldest pitcher: Clayton Richard, Blue Jays (0-3, 7.52 ERA)

It’s been a rough series for Toronto pitching, as the Blue Jays have allowed double-digit runs twice, including 11 in last night’s five-run defeat. The Blue Jays try to avoid the four-game sweep tonight as Richard seeks his first win in a Toronto uniform. Richard has lasted past the fourth inning only once in five starts, while getting lit up for 12 runs in his past two outings against the Diamondbacks and Astros. The run support hasn’t been there for the southpaw, as the Jays have scored two runs or fewer in four of Richard’s five appearances.

Biggest OVER run: Mariners (9-1-1 last 11)

It’s a battle of last-place squads in the Pacific Northwest tonight as Seattle tries to build off a blowout win over Kansas City on Thursday. When Seattle wins, its offense has shown signs of life by posting scoring six runs or more in its past seven victories. The Mariners rolled past the Royals, 8-2 last night but Seattle has given up six or more runs in in each of their last eight losses. Seattle welcomes in Baltimore tonight, who has lost eight consecutive games, as the Orioles have scored three runs or fewer in six of their past seven defeats.

Biggest UNDER run: Reds (14-1 last 15)

Cincinnati’s pitching staff put together a terrific effort in a three-game sweep of Houston by allowing a total seven runs. The Reds won each game by one run apiece, as the offense only put up 10 runs while facing Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in the final two wins. For the exception of allowing seven runs to the Rangers last Friday, the Reds have yielded four runs or fewer in 13 of the past 14 contests. Cincinnati travels to Milwaukee as the Reds are 6-1 to the UNDER in their last seven road series openers.

Matchup to watch: Giants vs. Dodgers

San Francisco and Los Angeles wrap up their four-game series tonight at Dodger Stadium as the two rivals won’t hook up again until September. The Giants won the opener as a +220 underdog on Monday, 3-2, but the Dodgers have dominated San Francisco the last two nights with a 9-2 and 9-0 blowouts. The storyline headed into tonight’s finale revolves around the matchup between Giants’ southpaw Madison Bumgarner and Dodgers’ second baseman Max Muncy.

The last time Bumgarner faced the Dodgers at Oracle Park on June 9, the San Francisco ace tossed a gem but made one mistake. Muncy took Bumgarner deep in the first inning as the two exchanged words on Muncy’s trip around the bases. Los Angeles won the game, 1-0 as a -160 favorite, marking the second time the Dodgers have beat Bumgarner in three tries this season.

Bumgarner picked up a no-decision in an 8-7 victory over the Brewers in his last start as the left-hander gave up five runs in six innings. The Giants have won three of Bumgarner’s past four outings on the road, including underdog victories over the Mets and Rockies. Tonight’s +160 opener for Bumgarner is his highest ‘dog price of the season, as he won at Chavez Ravine last August as a +180 underdog, 5-2.

Julio Urias makes the start in place of Walker Buehler as Urias has spent the last two months pitching out of the bullpen. The Dodgers’ left-hander last started on April 18 in a 3-1 win at Milwaukee, while tossing five scoreless innings against San Francisco on April 1, but Los Angeles blew a 2-0 lead in a 4-2 setback.

Betcha didn’t know: The Cubs’ pitching staff has been solid at Wrigley Field recently by allowing three runs or less in seven of the last nine opportunities. The Cubs picked up a split with the White Sox following last night’s 7-3 win as Chicago welcomes in New York for a four-game set. The Mets have lost seven of their past nine road series openers, while giving up at least eight runs four times in this stretch.

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

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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