Wednesday's Diamond Notes
April 11, 2018
By Kevin Rogers
Hottest team: Angels (9-3 on season, 5-1 on road)
The Halos have been extremely consistent this season by losing one game, then winning three straight. That streak has happened three times this season, as the Angels are coming off their third consecutive victory on Tuesday, 11-1 over the Rangers. The offense has been incredible of late by scoring 25 runs during this hot streak, while All-Star Mike Trout drilled his fourth home run of the season last night.
Los Angeles is seeking its sixth straight road victory as right-hander Jaime Barria makes his Major League debut. The 21-year old was signed by the Angels at 16, while rising through the minor league ranks last season. Even though the Angels’ offense is receiving plenty of praise so far, the pitching staff has allowed three runs or less in seven games this season.
Coldest team: White Sox (3-7 on season, 0-5 last five)
Chicago won its first two games of the season at Kansas City, but the White Sox have unraveled since then by losing seven of the past eight games. To make things worse, the Pale Hose own an 0-5 record at home, with the five losses come to the Tigers and Rays. Chicago has allowed at least five runs in four of those defeats, while trying to avoid its second straight sweep at Guaranteed Rate Field.
James Shields looks to stop the bleeding for the Sox, as the right-hander allowed three earned runs in five innings in his last start against Detroit. He left the game with a 6-3 lead, but the Tigers rallied to score three runs in the ninth inning and eventually beat Chicago in extra innings. Since joining the Sox in 2016, Chicago owns a 2-4 record when Shields is listed as a favorite.
Hottest pitcher: David Price, Red Sox (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
The former Cy Young winner posted nearly identical lines in his first two starts against Tampa Bay by not allowing a run in seven innings of work, while striking out five each time. Price hasn’t received much run support (four runs), but has stayed below 100 pitches in each outing. Last season, Price put together a pair of dramatically different starts against the Yankees. In his first outing in the Bronx, Price was tagged for six earned runs in five innings of a 9-1 loss, but rebounded at home after the All-Star break with eight scoreless innings in a 3-0 shutout.
Coldest pitcher: Luis Castillo, Reds (0-2, 9.00 ERA)
Cincinnati slumped to its eighth loss in the last 10 games in Tuesday’s 6-1 setback at Philadelphia. The Reds have allowed at least five runs in their last three losses as Castillo tries to bounce back from a 14-3 loss at Pittsburgh. The right-hander allowed four earned runs in five innings, as the Reds have been outscored, 27-10 in his two outings this season.
Biggest OVER run: Rays (4-0 last four, 6-1 on road)
Tampa Bay’s offense has woken up since a slow start by scoring 18 runs in the past three games. In the Rays’ previous seven contests, they plated a total of 14 runs, which came against the Red Sox and Yankees. In two victories against the White Sox, Tampa Bay has posted five and six runs, while eclipsing the OVER in six of seven games away from Tropicana Field.
Biggest UNDER run: Indians (6-0 last six)
Cleveland allowed 13 runs to the Angels on April 3, but the Tribe’s pitching has tightened up by yielding eight runs in the last six games combined. On its current homestand, the Indians have given up five runs in five games, but Cleveland hasn’t scored more than three runs in any of those games. Carlos Carrasco was touched up for five earned runs in first start against Seattle, but settled down against Kansas City to give up two earned runs in six innings of a 3-2 win.
Matchup to watch: Pirates vs. Cubs
The biggest surprise in the National League so far is Pittsburgh, who has won eight of 10 games. The Pirates picked up their fourth road win in four tries on Tuesday by spoiling the Cubs’ home opener on Tuesday, 8-5. Ivan Nova tossed seven innings for the Pirates, who have turned things around after a 3-6 start to last season.
The Cubs are off to a 5-5 start as Chicago has posted two shutouts while getting blanked twice as well. Chicago has lost consecutive games only once so far as Jon Lester heads to the mound tonight. Lester couldn’t escape the fourth inning in his season debut against the Marlins, but rebounded with six scoreless innings in an 8-0 shutout of the Brewers his last time out. The Cubs lost three of four starts by Lester last season against the Pirates, including a 14-3 defeat prior to the All-Star break in which the southpaw allowed 10 runs in the first inning.
Fellow left-hander Steven Brault counters for Pittsburgh, as the southpaw beat the Reds his last time out by yielding three hits and one earned run in five innings. Brault faced the Cubs several times last season, while picking up a no-decision in a 4-3 home underdog win over Chicago last September.
Betcha didn’t know: Toronto’s pitching staff has shut down the Baltimore bats by yielding two runs in two victories at Camden Yards. Marco Estrada tries to keep that trend going in the series finale as the right-hander has given up nine hits and four earned runs in 13 innings of work. Toronto has compiled a 2-0 record in his two starts this season, while the Blue Jays have won the last four starts made by Estrada against the Orioles.
Biggest public favorite: Indians (-270) vs. Tigers
Biggest public underdog: Rays (+100) at White Sox
Biggest line move: Twins (+145 to +130) vs. Astros
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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