MLB-Regular season- Monday essentials

Hottest team: Indians (3-0 past three games, 15-7 past 22 overall)

The Indians hit the road for Fenway Park to battle the Red Sox. It’s a make-up game for a rainout back on Aug. 2. That’s when the Red Sox kicked off a streak of 11 victories over 12 games, ncluding a pair of wins against the Indians. Cleveland got well in St. Petersburg, sweeping the Rays under the dome to open a 4 1/2-game lead over the Twins, and a five-game lead on the Royals. The Tribe look to Trevor Bauer to keep up his recent good work. He is 3-0 with just six runs allowed and 28 strikeouts across 27 innings over his past four outings. He’ll be opposed by Doug Fister, who shut down the Indians on July 31, allowing just two runs and five hits across 7 2/3 innings. He is 6-4 with a 3.07 ERA across 17 career outings against Cleveland.

Coldest team: Rockies (1-5 past six games, 7-10 past 17 overall)

The Rockies have been three games under .500 over their past 17 outings, and that simply won’t do when trying to keep the red-hot Dodgers within shouting distance. L.A. has opened up an 18-game lead in the National League West Division, all but sealing things up in mid-August. The Rockies didn’t care for their trip to sea level, suffering a three-game sweep at the hands of the Marlins in South Florida. They’ll turn to Chad Bettis to get back on track, and they will be facing an equally icy Braves team. Atlanta has won just once over the past six games, and once in their past eight road games. Colorado is still 20-8 over their past 28 at home, and an impressive 10-1 in Bettis’ past 11 against the NL East and 13-1 over his past 14 at home against a team with a losing record.

Hottest pitcher: Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks (13-5, 3.14 ERA)

Greinke gets a crack at the Astros in Monday’s interleague series opener, and he looks to add to his already impressive numbers at home. The All-Star is 10-1 with a 2.52 ERA with 103 strikeouts over 85 2/3 innings across 13 home outings and the opposition is hitting just .190 against him at Chase Field as opposed to a .264 average against him on the road in 10 outings. He gets the Astros perhaps at their lowest point of the season, having won just once over the past six outings. The Diamondbacks haven’t been that hot themselves, going 1-4 over the past five outings. However, they’re 13-4 over Greinke’s past 17 outings, and 6-1 in his past seven interleague showings.

Coldest pitcher: Jose Quintana, Cubs (6-10, 4.42 ERA)

The Cubs traded for the southpaw Quintana in early July, and early returns were good. He won his first two starts on the north side. However, he is 0-2 over his past three outings, posting a 5.82 ERA. That’s not exactly what the Cubs were banking on when they added him for the stretch run. If Q has anything going for him, it is a matchup against youngster Asher Wojciechowski, as well as facing a Reds team which has been lost against the Cubs. Cincinnati has won just 14 of the past 51 meetings against the defending champs, including a dismal 7-20 showing over their past 27 trips to Wrigley Field.

Biggest UNDER run: Rockies (5-1 past six overall)

When thinking about the ‘under’ Colorado is usually the furthest team from casual bettors’ minds. But the under has cashed in five of Colorado’s past six outings, and the under is 5-2 in their past seven against National League East foes. In addition, the under has hit in six straight for Bettis against a team with a losing overall mark. The under is also 4-1 in their past five tries against a right-handed starter while going 19-7-2 over the past 28 following a loss.The under has also hit in four straight at home for Bettis, and seven of his past eight starts overall.

Biggest OVER run: Royals (7-1-1 past eight overall)

The ‘over’ hit again for Kansas City on Sunday, and the total is now a very impressive 7-1-1 over the past nine outings. That includes a 6-1-1 mark over the past eight outings against a right-handed starting pitcher, and 3-1-1 in their past five road contests. For Jake Junis, the over is 3-0-1 in his past four road assignments while going 5-1-1 over the past seven outings overall. The over has been a frequent occurence when these teams hook up on the diamond, too, hitting in five of the past seven meetings in the series. On a side note, Kansas City has won just once over the past nine against the A’s.

Matchup to watch: Padres vs. Phillies

The Padres have had a losing record for a majority of the season but that hasn’t diminished their fighting spirit. They played the Dodgers very tough over the weekend and they aren’t laying down for anyone. San Diego has won just once over the past five overall, but they’re 5-2 over their past seven at home and an impressive 7-2 over their past nine at Petco Park against teams with a road winning percentage under .400. They’re picking off the weaker teams and building a little confidence heading into 2018. The Phillies have won just 20 of their past 70 road outings, and they’re 6-14 over Jerad Eickhoff’s past 20 starts. However, Philadelphia had had the number of San Diego lately, going 25-8 over the past 33 trips to Petco Park while posting a 40-16 mark over the past 56 overall.

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