Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM

Friday's Diamond Notes

Hottest team: Mets (7-0 last seven)

If there is one thing everybody can agree on that has followed Major League Baseball this season is the Mets are the hardest team to figure out. New York went on a dreadful 3-11 run from late June through mid-July, but the Mets have come back to life of late by winning 13 of the past 17 games, including seven straight victories. The Mets are fresh off back-to-back sweeps of the Pirates and White Sox, while limiting Chicago to four runs in three wins.

New York remains two games under the .500 mark, but the Mets have crept to within four games of the second Wild Card spot in the National League. The Mets continue their road trip in Pittsburgh to face the Pirates for the second consecutive weekend. Steven Matz tossed a complete game shutout against the Pirates last Saturday to improve to 4-0 at home, but the southpaw owns a 2-6 mark away from Citi Field as he makes the start on Friday at PNC Park.

Coldest team: Rockies (4-13 last 17)

The free-fall to the bottom of the NL West continues for Colorado after losing the final two games of its home series to Los Angeles. The Rockies held the Dodgers scoreless for eight innings on Wednesday before allowing L.A. to score five runs in a 5-1 victory. Colorado’s offense was limited to fewer than four runs for the fourth time in five games, while losing 12 straight games when scoring five or fewer runs.

The Rockies were swept by the Giants at Coors Field two weeks ago in a four-game series as San Francisco invades Colorado again this weekend. Peter Lambert won his first two starts of his big league career back in June, but the Rockies’ right-hander is winless in his past seven outings. Lambert pitched well against San Francisco back on July 16 by allowing two earned runs in six innings of work, but the Giants won in extra innings, 8-4.

Hottest pitcher: Mike Clevinger, Indians (5-2, 3.28 ERA)

The most reliable pitcher currently in the Cleveland rotation following the trade of Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati is Clevinger, who has won three straight starts. Since getting tagged for seven runs against the Orioles in a 13-0 loss on June 28, Clevinger has allowed six runs in the past five starts, although the last three wins have come against the Tigers, Royals, and Blue Jays. The Indians have compiled a 3-1 record in four starts at Progressive Field, while striking out double-digit batters in three of those outings as the Tribe welcome in the Angels.

Coldest pitcher: Glenn Sparkman, Royals (3-7, 5.25 ERA)

The Kansas City rotation has been thin all season as Sparkman has given up four runs or more in four of his past five starts with the Royals going 1-4 in that span. Since blanking the White Sox on July 16, Sparkman lost twice to the Indians, while yielding 13 runs and five home runs. Sparkman fared well against Minnesota the last time he faced them in late June by tossing seven innings in a 4-1 win as a +175 underdog, as he takes the mound at Target Field as a +210 ‘dog on Friday.

Biggest OVER run: Orioles (6-1 last seven)

Baltimore returned home from a successful road trip on Thursday only to get blown out by a streaking Toronto squad, 11-2. The O’s allowed more than five runs for the seventh time in the past eight games, while cashing the OVER for the fourth time in the last five contests with a total of 10 or more. The Orioles continue their series with the Blue Jays on Friday as Aaron Brooks is scheduled to make the start. Brooks allowed five earned runs in each of his last two outings, while his offense aided him with early run support in a 9-8 victory over the Angels his past start to easily cash the OVER of 10 ½.

Biggest UNDER run: Brewers (6-1 last seven)

The race atop the NL Central continues to heat up after the Cardinals captured two of three from the Cubs to re-take a one-game advantage for first place. Chicago returns home to host Milwaukee for a Friday afternoon affair at Wrigley Field as the Brewers have scored four or fewer runs in four consecutive games. The Brewers dropped two of three at Oakland, capped off by Thursday’s come-from-ahead loss to the A’s after blowing a late 3-1 lead in a 5-3 defeat. The game remained UNDER the total of 9 ½, as the Brewers and Cubs have hit the UNDER in six of the previous seven matchups.

Matchup to watch: Red Sox vs. Yankees

Boston is skidding out of control of late after getting swept at home by Tampa Bay to slip to 3 ½ games out of the second Wild Card position in the American League. After taking the first three games against the Yankees at Fenway Park last weekend, the Red Sox have dropped four consecutive contests. New York hooks up with Boston for a second consecutive weekend as the Yankees try to continue to keep their distance from the Red Sox in the AL East race.

The Yankees earned a two-game split with the Diamondbacks in Wednesday’s 7-5 victory in the Bronx to salvage the final meeting of the four-game season series. New York owns a pedestrian 4-6 record in the last 10 games following a five-game winning streak as James Paxton (5-6, 4.72 ERA) tries to turn around his recent bad luck. Paxton is winless in his last five appearances, capped off by allowing a season-high seven runs in four innings of a 10-5 defeat at Boston last Friday.

The Red Sox counter with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (13-4, 4.13 ERA), as Boston owns a solid 8-1 record in his past nine trips to the mound. Rodriguez defeated the Yankees at Fenway last Saturday, 9-5 as a -145 favorite, while allowing three earned runs in 5.2 innings of work. The Sox have won each of Rodriguez’s last six starts away from Boston, while the defending champions beat the Yankees twice in his three starts in the Bronx last season.

Betcha didn’t know: Jason Vargas makes his Phillies’ debut on Friday as the struggling White Sox invade Citizens Bank Park. Vargas won his final three starts as a member of the Mets, while posting a 2.93 home ERA this season which included a 6-2 mark to the UNDER. The White Sox enters Friday’s action owning an awful 2-13 record the last 15 road games, while dropping eight of their past 11 away series openers.

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

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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