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Monday's Diamond Notes

Hottest teamMariners (4-0 past four overall, 6-1 past seven road games)

The Mariners find themselves 16 1/2 games behind the Astros for second place in the American League West, but this is still an important series for them. They cannot afford to lose ground to the likes of the Angels and Rangers in their division, as well as the Twins, Rays and Royals, for their chance at a wild card. The Mariners have rolled to four straight wins, including three in a row at Chicago White Sox, pulling even in the run differential department. They're trending in the right direction, but that could all potentially fall apart in Houston. The M's are just 2-5 over their past seven against teams with a winning record, although they're 5-2 in Ariel Miranda's past seven road outings and 9-4 in his past 13 against teams with a winning overall mark. Seattle might also have a difficult time against Lance McCullers Jr., as he is 7-2 with a 3.05 ERA overall this season, posting 106 strikeouts over 91 1/3 innings. That includes in his most recent meeting with the M's on June 24 at Safeco Field.

Coldest team: Indians (0-4 past four games overall)

The Indians have stumbled out of the gate in the second half, as they were swept by the Athletics in Oakland by a combined score of 17-6. That includes a loss by All-Star Corey Kluber and fireballer Carlos Carrasco, so things aren't exactly trending in the right direction at the moment for the defending American League champions. However, the lack of travel for their next interleague series, a quick jaunt across the Oakland Bay Bridge, should help them feel better and a little rested. They are just 2-10 over their past 12 games against the National League West and 3-14 in the past 17 interleague battles. They're also a dismal 1-7 across their past eight interleague road outings.

Hottest pitcher: Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays (9-5, 3.28 ERA)

Stroman takes the hill Monday night in Fenway Park against the Red Sox in an important series. The Blue Jays are in the basement ofthe American League East, but they're just nine games back of first place. If they're able to make some noise, they might just be buyers and not sellers at the non-waiver trade deadline. Stroman looked great in his last outing against the Astros on July 8, allowing just one run and six hits with three walks and six strikeouts over seven innings to win his ninth game. He will be well rested and ready to go. That's good, too, because he was rocked in his first appearance against the Red Sox back on April 18. He gave up six earned runs and 11 hits over just 4 2/3 innings in a loss.

Coldest pitcherMatt Moore, Giants (3-9, 6.04 ERA)

The Giants send the left-hander Moore to the hill on Monday to face the ice-cold Indians. Perhaps that will get him untracked, or perhaps facing Moore is the elixir to cure Cleveland's offensive ills. He has served up 15 home runs over 98 1/3 innings across 18 starts this season and the opposition is hitting a robust .307 against him while he has an unsavory 1.69 WHIP overall. Moore has been a little more respectable at home, posting a 2-5 record with a 4.44 ERA over 48 2/3 innings across eight home outings. However, he is a dismal 1-6 with an 8.39 ERA in 10 starts under the lights this season.

Biggest UNDER run: Pirates (5-1 past six, 13-2-1 past 16 overall)

The Pirates have been a total bettors' dream lately, as the 'under' has been nearly automatic for them lately. The under is 4-0-1 in their past five at home against left-handed starting pitchers, 16-5-2 in their past 23 at home and 22-6-2 over the past 30 games overall. In addition, the Bucs have started out slowly in series openers, posting a 6-1 under mark in their past seven Game 1s. The Brewers have been on an under tear lately, too, going 4-1 in their past five and 5-2-1 in their past eight on the road vs. RHP. In addition, Brent Suter has fit right in, with the under going 4-0 over his past four assignments. In addition, the under is 15-4-2 over the past 21 meetings in this series.

Biggest OVER run: Athletics (7-3 past 10 overall)

'Over' and Oakland are two things that generally do not come to mind immediately, but the Athletics have been doing a good job hitting the over lately. They averaged 6.0 runs per game over their final two outings against the Indians to hit the over, and it has hit in seven of the past 10 overall. The over is also 5-1 in Oakland's past six at home, and 6-1 in their past seven at Coliseum against American League clubs. They'll be facing a Rays squad which has posted an 8-3-2 mark against the under over the past 13 road outings. However, Tampa Bay has a perfect 7-0 'over' mark in Jake Odorizzi's past seven outings, including 4-1 in his past five road assignments.

Matchup to watch: Rockies vs. Padres

The Rockies host the Padres, looking to get back on track after an ice-cold stretch lately. Colorado has won just six times over their past 21 games overall, and they're 1-10 in their past 11 divisional games. However, the Rockies are 4-0 in German Marquez's past four home starts, and 8-3 in his past 11 overall. The Rox are also an impressive 11-5 over their past 16 home games and 21-9 in their past 30 to kick off a new series. Conversely, the Padres have won just once over the past six road assignments for Luis Perdomo, and they're 0-4 in his past four inside the division. San Diego is also 2-6 in their past eight trips to Coors Field with the 'under' cashing in each of the past five.

Betcha didn’t know: The biggest reason for the failures of the Tigers this season has been their inability to win inside the divsion, as well as on the road. Detroit is just 2-8 over their past 10 road outings and 1-4 in their past five road games against teams with a winning home mark. Jordan Zimmermann hasn't been much help in turning those kind of numbers around, as the Tigers are just 1-5 over his past six outings, 1-9 in his past 10 road starts and 2-7 across his past nine assignments against divisional foes. On the flip side, the Royals are an impressive 11-1 over Jason Vargas' past 12 starts against a club with a losing record and 21-6 across his past 27 outings overall.

Biggest public favorite: Astros (-215) vs. Mariners

Biggest public underdog: Rays (+110) at Athletics

Biggest line move: Astros (-200 to -215) vs. Mariners

Joe Williams can be followed on Twitter at JoeWilliamsVI.

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