Friday's Diamond Notes
April 13, 2018
By Kevin Rogers
Hottest team: Mets (10-1 overall, 8-0 last eight)
There were high expectations in New York this season, but for the Yankees. The forgotten little brothers in Queens have won 10 of their first 11 games, while coming off a perfect 6-0 road trip at Washington and Miami. The Mets have won all three starts made by both Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, and were victorious in two appearances from Matt Harvey.
The only starter that has suffered a loss is Steven Matz, who takes the mound on Friday against Milwaukee. The southpaw lost his season opener against the Cardinals, 5-1 as he lasted four innings and allowed three earned runs. Matz rebounded with a solid outing as a road underdog at Washington last Saturday, scattering three hits in five innings of a 3-2 victory.
Coldest team: Reds (2-10 overall, 0-5 last five)
It’s been a tough start for Cincinnati, who dropped its fifth straight game in Thursday’s 13-4 setback to St. Louis. The Reds have allowed double-digit runs to three separate opponents this season (Nationals, Pirates, and Cardinals), while falling to 1-4 at home. Granted, the home schedule hasn’t been kind by facing Washington, Chicago, and St. Louis, but the two victories on the season came in a 1-0 victory over the Cubs and a 7-4 triumph at Pittsburgh after falling behind, 4-0.
Tyler Mahle heads to the hill for Cincinnati, as the right-hander is coming off a pair of completely different results to start the season. Mahle yielded one hit in six scoreless innings in Cincinnati’s lone home win over Chicago, but was tagged for five runs in a 5-0 setback at Pittsburgh this past Sunday. In his only career start against the Cardinals, Mahle shut down the St. Louis bats in a 6-0 victory at Busch Stadium last September by scattering four hits in five innings.
Hottest pitcher: Gerrit Cole, Astros (1-0, 0.64 ERA)
Houston pulled off one of the biggest steals last season by acquiring Justin Verlander late in the season to help solidify the rotation for a World Series title run. The Astros picked up another ace by trading for Cole from the Pirates this past offseason and it has paid off nicely so far. Cole has posted consecutive 11-strikeout performances against the Rangers and Padres, while allowing only one run in 14 innings of work. The right-hander will square off against Texas at Minute Maid Park to open up their weekend series, as the Rangers have lost four straight games.
Coldest pitcher: Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays (0-1, 8.38 ERA)
Stroman won a career-high 13 games last season, but the right-hander has stumbled through two starts in 2018. The Blue Jays fell behind the Yankees, 4-1 in Stroman’s first start, but Toronto rallied for six late runs to get him off the hook in a 7-4 win. However, Stroman didn’t receive the same fortune in his second appearance by allowing five earned runs in 4.2 innings of a 5-1 road favorite defeat at Texas. The Jays travel to Cleveland to face the streaking Indians as Stroman performed well in two starts last season by yielding one earned run in 13.2 innings against the Tribe.
Best OVER run: Yankees (8-1-1 last 10)
New York dropped to 6-7 on the season following Thursday’s 6-3 defeat at Boston. The Yankees venture to Detroit for the weekend looking to get on track against a Tigers’ squad that lost all four games at Cleveland. New York’s five-game OVER streak ended with Thursday’s push on a 9 total, but would have ended UNDER if not for the Yankees scoring three runs in the ninth inning. Jordan Montgomery gets the start for the Bronx Bombers, as both of his starts have sailed OVER the total this season.
Best UNDER run: Braves (5-0 last five)
Atlanta avoided a three-game sweep with Wednesday’s extra-innings victory at Washington. The game finished UNDER the total of 9 in spite of reaching 12 innings as the Braves put together a 5-3 win. The offense finally busted out after scoring five runs in the previous three games combined, while the pitching staff has allowed three runs or less in six of the past seven contests. The Braves continue their road trip with an afternoon affair against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Veteran Anibal Sanchez makes his second start, as he posted an UNDER in his first outing, a 3-2 loss at Colorado last Friday.
Matchup to watch: Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers
Los Angeles eliminated Arizona in the National League Divisional Series last season in three games en route to the pennant. The Diamondbacks grabbed early season revenge by pulling off a three-game sweep of the Dodgers at Chase Field earlier this month, while holding L.A. to a total of one run in the final two victories.
The D-backs sit atop the NL West at 9-3 after capturing their fourth series victory of the season at San Francisco. Arizona owns a perfect 4-0 record in series openers as Zack Greinke heads to the mound against his former team. Greinke is winless in a pair of starts, while coming off a 5-3 loss at St. Louis last weekend as the ace gave up five earned runs in five innings of work.
The Dodgers have stumbled out of the gate with a 4-7 record, capped off by Wednesday’s embarrassing 16-6 home defeat to the Athletics. Kenta Maeda seeks his second victory of the season as the right-hander tossed five scoreless innings and struck out 10 in a 5-0 home shutout of the Giants on March 31. Maeda spent the final month of last season pitching out of the bullpen, as the Dodgers put together a 1-4 record against the D-backs in his five starts.
Betcha didn’t know: The Phillies (along with the Reds) owned the worst interleague record last season at 5-15 as Philadelphia faces off with Tampa Bay this weekend. Philadelphia has won five of its past six games since a 1-4 start, as Vince Velasquez gets the ball in the opener. The Phillies have lost six of his last eight road starts dating back to last season, including a 15-2 setback at Atlanta on March 31.
Biggest public favorite: Astros (-230) vs. Rangers
Biggest public underdog: Marlins (+120) vs. Pirates
Biggest line move: Angels (-125 to -145) at Royals
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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