MLB-Regular season-Monday essentials

Hottest team: Brewers (6-1 last seven) at Giants

Milwaukee continues its NL West road trip after taking two of three from Colorado. The Brewers’ offense woke up in the final two victories by scoring 14 runs, while eclipsing the six-run mark in six of the past eight games. The Crew is still within striking distance of a Wild Card spot in the National League, entering Monday’s action 2 ½ games behind Arizona for the final playoff position.

The Brewers face the struggling Giants at AT&T Park for the start of a three-game series before heading down to Los Angeles to take on the first place Dodgers on Friday. Zach Davies heads to the mound for the opener by the Bay as the Milwaukee right-hander owns a perfect 7-0 record away from Miller Park this season. The Brewers are 9-3 in Davies’ 12 road starts, while allowing only a single run in his last three away assignments.

Coldest team: Mets (1-6 last seven) vs. Diamondbacks

New York dropped the finale of its three-game series to Miami to fall to 1-4 on its current homestand. The Mets have won only six of 19 games this month, including a 2-8 record at Citi Field. New York were listed as a heavy favorite with Jacob deGrom on the mound on Sunday, but the Mets will flip to an underdog against Arizona on Monday. However, the Mets have slumped to a 1-9 record in the past 10 games in the ‘dog role.

Robert Gsellman will look to get the Mets on track in spite of failing to win in his past four starts dating back to June. The Mets will be seeking revenge against the D-backs after getting swept in Arizona in May, while dropping eight of the past nine meetings since the start of 2016.

Hottest pitcher: Alex Wood, Dodgers (14-1, 2.30 ERA)

It seems like anybody that takes the mound for Los Angeles can be listed in this category on any given night. Wood continues to impress, although he isn’t the ace of the Dodgers’ rotation as the southpaw is unbeaten in his last six away starts. The former Braves’ left-hander has allowed a total five earned runs in his past seven road outings, while tossing five scoreless innings and striking out 11 in a 12-1 trouncing of the Pirates in May.

Coldest pitcher: Taijuan Walker, Diamondbacks (6-7, 3.38 ERA)

The last time Walker won a decision came on June 21 at Colorado, as the D-backs are riding a seven-game skid in his past seven starts. Four of those defeats have come away from Chase Field, including a 9-5 setback at Houston, while allowing five earned runs for the second consecutive start. The D-backs as a team aren’t too hot themselves after getting swept at Minnesota this past weekend, while losing six of their past seven road contests.

Biggest OVER run: Giants (5-1-1 last seven)

Although San Francisco cashed the UNDER for the first time in seven games on Sunday in a 5-2 home defeat to Philadelphia, the Giants have seen plenty of wild games of late. In the first three contests against the Phillies, San Francisco scored 24 runs, which is one more than the amount of runs posted in the seven previous games combined. Chris Stratton heads to the mound for the Giants in their opener against the Brewers, as he is coming off a career-high 10 strikeouts in 6.2 innings of a road victory at Washington his last time out.

Biggest UNDER run: Athletics (7-4 last 11)

Oakland avoided the sweep at Houston on Sunday as all three games with the Astros finished UNDER the total. The mighty Astros’ offense was limited to eight runs the entire weekend, which is in stark contrast the 21 runs allowed to Kansas City in its previous series. The A’s split a four-game series with the Orioles at home earlier this month, as Oakland scored five runs or more in each of the final three contests. Chris Smith has hit the UNDER in four of six starts for the A’s, including both road outings at Seattle and Toronto.

Matchup to watch: Rangers vs. Angels

The AL Wild Card race is tightening up by the day as the Yankees remain the leader in spite of losing two of three to the Red Sox. Right behind New York is a tie between the Twins and Angels for the second Wild Card position, while the Rangers are 2 ½ games behind. Texas suffered a costly home loss on Sunday by falling to the woeful White Sox, 3-2 as -200 favorites to split the four-game series.

The Angels finished off a terrific road trip at 7-2, capped off by a pair of victories at Baltimore. Tyler Skaggs faces the Rangers for the third time this season as the Angels are 2-0 in the southpaw’s first outings against Texas. Skaggs is 0-2 in three starts this month, as the Angels scored just one run in the two losses.

Cole Hamels counters for Texas, as the left-hander tries to improve on his 8-1 record after winning his last three starts. Hamels has dominated the Angels in two starts this season, giving up one earned run in 14.2 innings of work, although Texas is 1-1 in those games. The Rangers have won five of nine meetings with the Angels this season, while making their first trip to Anaheim since taking two of three back in April.

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