Friday's Diamond Notes
May 18, 2017
By Kevin Rogers
Hottest team: Rangers (9-0 last nine)
Texas cleaned up on its homestand against subpar competition by winning all eight games against San Diego, Oakland, and Philadelphia. The Rangers outscored the Phillies, 22-8 during their three-game sweep in Arlington to move within 7 ½-games of red-hot Houston atop the AL West.
Now the Rangers have to prove their worth on the highway as they travel to Detroit to begin a weekend series at Comerica Park. Texas has slumped to a 4-11 record in its previous 15 games away from Globe Life Park, while scoring two runs or less eight times in this stretch. Nick Martinez will try to turn around Texas’ road woes, while attempting to continue its hot streak. Martinez is winless in two road starts this season, while giving up 11 runs in 11.1 innings of work.
Coldest team: Mets (0-7 last seven)
One week ago, New York sat at 17-16 and in second place of the NL East behind Washington. However, a series finale loss to San Francisco started a tailspin as the Mets were swept in a pair of road series at Milwaukee and Arizona. The Mets led in each of the past four games, but dropped the final two to the Diamondbacks by one run apiece.
New York plays its first interleague series of the season as the Angels invade Citi Field. Los Angeles is coming off a three-game home sweep of Chicago, but the Halos draw Jacob deGrom in the series opener. The Mets have won three of deGrom’s last four starts, but New York squandered a 7-1 lead in his previous outing at Milwaukee last Sunday in an 11-9 defeat.
Hottest pitcher: Charlie Morton, Astros (5-2, 3.97 ERA)
Dallas Keuchel is on his way to a second Cy Young award in three seasons, but Morton is also shining this season for Houston. Morton owns a perfect 5-0 record at Minute Maid Park this season, while the right-hander has allowed two earned runs or less in four of those victories. The veteran has also been helped out by terrific run support as the loaded Astros’ lineup has provided Morton at least eight runs in each of his last four starts. Morton faces the Indians on Friday as Houston has compiled a 5-1 record in home series openers this season.
Coldest pitcher: Jered Weaver, Padres (0-4, 6.05 ERA)
It’s hard to believe that Weaver won 20 games back in 2012 and has yet to pick up a victory in eight starts for San Diego this season. Weaver is actually coming off his best start of the season against the White Sox, allowing one earned run in six innings, but Chicago exploded for eight runs off the San Diego bullpen in the eighth inning of a 9-3 victory. The 34-year old didn’t allow a home run against the White Sox, but has given up multi-homers in six starts this season. Weaver tries to silence the Diamondbacks in the series opener, looking to avenge a 6-2 loss in late April.
Biggest OVER run: Red Sox (9-1 last 10)
Boston continues its series at Oakland on Friday as the Red Sox keep cashing OVERS, but not in convincing fashion. In the two-game series sweep of the Cardinals, the Red Sox won by scores of 6-3 on an 8 total and 5-4 on an 8 ½ total. In nine of 10 games during this OVER stretch, the Sox have hit scored at least four runs, while hitting the OVER in three straight Game 2’s of a road series. Ace Chris Sale began the season by finishing UNDER the total in six straight starts, but has eclipsed the OVER in his last two outings as he takes the hill on Friday.
Biggest UNDER run: Diamondbacks (12-4 on road)
Arizona is 3-2-1 to the OVER the last six games, but have been a terrific UNDER bet away from the desert. The D-backs head to San Diego to face the Padres this weekend as seven of Arizona’s past eight road contests have finished UNDER the total. In two of three meetings at Petco Park in mid-April, the D-backs scored a combined one run after putting up 11 in a blowout victory to begin the series. Taijuan Walker has hit the UNDER in three of his four road starts for Arizona, while drilling the UNDER on two high totals in his past two appearances.
Matchup to watch: Yankees vs. Rays
New York travels to Tampa Bay to play its third series this season against the Rays. The Yankees dropped two of three to open the season at Tropicana Field, but picked up revenge one week later by sweeping the Rays in the Bronx. Joe Girardi’s club has been rolling ever since as the Yankees sit atop the AL East heading into the weekend.
The Rays return home following an impressive road trip by capturing back-to-back series against the Red Sox and Indians. Tampa Bay won the final two games at Cleveland, while scoring 20 runs in the three-game set. The Rays have cashed the OVER in six straight contests, but Tampa Bay tries to snap a four-game skid in home series openers. Erasmo Ramirez tries to erase that dubious number for the Rays, making his second start for Tampa Bay after beating Detroit at home on April 20.
Luis Severino has been an impressive part of the Yankees’ rotation this season by striking out 47 batters in 42 innings of work. The right-hander picked up a no-decision in a win against the Astros last Sunday, while allowing seven hits and one earned run in his previous two road starts against the Cubs and Red Sox.
Betcha didn’t know: The Royals sit in last place of the AL Central and one of the reasons why (besides bad offense) is losing five times to the Twins this season. Kansas City makes its first trip to Target Field since getting swept at Minnesota in the opening series of the season. Nathan Karns hasn’t faced the Twins yet this season, but the Royals are 3-0 in his last three starts overall, while striking out 29 batters in this span.
Biggest public favorite: Dodgers (-225) vs. Marlins
Biggest public underdog: White Sox (+100) at Mariners
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at email@example.com
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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