Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM

Friday's Diamond Notes

Hottest team: Nationals (8-1 last nine)

On May 23, the Nationals suffered their fifth consecutive loss and were shocked by the Mets in a four-game sweep at Citi Field to fall to 19-31. Since then, Washington has climbed up the NL East standings by posting an impressive 26-10 mark to jump four games above .500. The Nationals are fresh off their second sweep of the Marlins over the last nine days, while losing only eight games in the month of June.

Washington faces another struggling team this weekend as Kansas City invades the Nation’s Capital. The Nationals are heavy favorites once again as Austin Voth makes his third start of the season. Voth is winless in two starts against the Braves and Tigers, while allowing five earned runs in 10.1 innings of work as Washington lost as a -190 favorite to Detroit his last time out. The Royals head to D.C. on a 3-10 skid, while getting swept at home by the Indians this week.

Coldest team: Mets (2-8 last 10)

The last time the Mets and Phillies hooked up last week in Philadelphia, it was the low point of the season for New York. The Mets blew leads in all four games, including dropping the final two contests in walk-off fashion to the Phillies. The Mets have won two of their last three games, including comeback victories over the Braves and Yankees, but New York last captured a series victory one month ago against the Rockies at home.

Now, the Mets get another crack at the Phillies with their ace on the mound tonight. Jacob deGrom didn’t pitch in the previous series against Philadelphia as last year’s Cy Young winner is winless in six of his past seven starts. deGrom has compiled quality outings in six consecutive outings, but the Mets own a dreadful 2-6 record in his past eight starts at Citi Field. The Mets look to improve on a 1-5 mark in the last six home series openers, while capturing two of three Game 1’s against the Phillies this season.

Hottest pitcher: Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks (9-3, 2.90 ERA)

Greinke put together a terrific June as Arizona won five of his six starts last month. The only blemish came against the Rockies, tonight’s opponent, as the former Cy Young winner was tagged for 11 hits and five runs in seven innings of a 6-4 home loss on June 19. Besides that rough outing, Greinke compiled three scoreless outings, including a 4-3 road win at San Francisco his last time out, marking the third start in the last four that he tossed at least seven innings. Greinke will try to exorcise the Colorado demons tonight as the D-backs are 0-3 in his three starts against the Rockies this season.

Coldest pitcher: Yusei Kikuchi, Mariners (4-5, 5.12 ERA)

Kikuchi made his Major League debut in his native Japan on March 21 against Oakland by pitching into the fifth inning of a 5-4 victory. However, it’s been a rough first season for the Seattle left-hander as the Mariners are 1-5 in his past six starts, including home blowout losses to the Royals and Angels. Since May 25, Kikuchi has allowed at least five runs five times, including getting racked for five runs and 10 hits in less than four innings against the A’s in a 6-5 road loss.

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

Baltimore owns the worst record in baseball at 25-61, but the Orioles have proved when they score a lot of runs, they win. Granted, it’s not often and it’s not consistent, but Baltimore has posted at least eight runs in each of its past four victories, including nine runs in Wednesday’s win at Tampa Bay. The Orioles’ pitching staff limited the Indians to two runs in a three-game series last weekend at Camden Yards, while winning the first two games by exact 13-0 blowouts. Baltimore travels to Toronto to face the Blue Jays, who are currently on a 5-1 OVER run. Dylan Bundy takes the ball for the O’s tonight, as the righty has seen the UNDER cash in five of his last six starts away from Camden Yards.

Biggest UNDER run: Brewers (8-1 last nine)

Milwaukee’s offense has been non-existent of late after getting blanked at Cincinnati the last two games. In fact, the Brewers have scored three runs or fewer in seven of the past 10 contests, while posting seven runs in a three-game series win over the Pirates last weekend. Milwaukee held Pittsburgh to five runs in that series, as the Brewers head to PNC Park this weekend. Zach Davies has fared well against the Pirates this season by allowing six earned runs in three starts, including a 2-1 win at Miller Park last Sunday.

Matchup to watch: Cardinals vs. Giants

San Francisco has come back to life of late by winning four consecutive games, including an impressive three-game road sweep of San Diego. The Giants lit up the Padres by scoring 30 runs in the series, while posting 40 runs in the past four victories. San Francisco returns to Oracle Park to face St. Louis, who continues its west coast swing after taking two of three games at Seattle.

The Cardinals had lost five straight games prior to winning three of the past four contests, while St. Louis scored five runs in all three victories. St. Louis had won seven consecutive starts made by Dakota Hudson prior to a 12-2 loss at San Diego last Saturday. Hudson gave up seven runs (only one earned) in less than two innings of work, as the righty allowed a total of seven runs in his previous five starts combined. The Cardinals enter tonight’s action owning a 2-5 record in the last seven road series openers.

Drew Pomeranz counters for San Francisco, as the veteran southpaw is winless in his past three starts. Pomeranz pitched well in his last appearance against Arizona by tossing five scoreless innings, but the Giants’ offense didn’t score in the first eight innings of a 4-3 defeat. Run support has been an issue for Pomeranz, as the Giants have posted three runs or less in six of his past eight starts.

The Giants and Cardinals haven’t met yet this season, but St. Louis won five of seven matchups last season, including splitting four contests in San Francisco.

Betcha didn’t know: Atlanta has been nearly automatic against Miami this season by capturing eight of nine matchups. The Braves swept the last two series in Miami, including a pair of one-run victories last month. Rookie Jordan Yamamoto takes the mound for the Marlins, as Miami owns a perfect 4-0 record in his four starts, including road victories at Philadelphia and St. Louis.

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

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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