TOM STRYKER’S FREE BASEBALL SELECTION WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19TH
#976 OAKLAND with Luzardo (-169) over Arizona with Kelly at 9:40 PM EST
Off back-to-back losses including yesterday’s 10-1 beating by the Diamondbacks, the A’s will rally the troops and pick up a much needed victory on Wednesday night. Oakland’s lead in the AL West is down to 2.5-games over Houston and the Athletics don’t want the Astros to get any closer.
In order to stop the bleeding, manager Bob Melvin will hand the pearl to southpaw Jesus Luzardo. So far this season, No. 44 has made five appearances for Oakland (three starts) and been nicked for 11 earned runs and 22 hits in 20.2 frames. Luzardo has whiffed 20 and walked nine on his way to a 1-0 tally with a 4.79 ERA. Overall, since joining the A’s last year, Luzardo has been touched for only 13 earned runs and 27 hits through 32.2 innings. After the math, that equates to a 1-0 tally with a 3.58 ERA.
Right-hander Merrill Kelly will counter for the visiting D’Backs. In his last four performances against the Padres (twice), Dodgers and Rangers, No. 29 has been scratched for five earned runs and 21 hits in 26.1 innings of work. Kelly has struck out 22 and walked three on his way to a 3-1 record with a strong 1.71 ERA. With 36 career starts in the bank since coming over to the club in 2019, Merrill has been tagged for 95 earned runs and 205 hits in 209.2 frames. That equates to a 16-15 mark with a 4.08 ERA.
There are a handful of power trends that back this investment. Oakland has tasted victory in 30 of its last 41 when coming off a loss, 78 of its last 109 when priced as a home favorite and 45 of its last 67 overall. On the visitor’s side of the field, Arizona has fallen in 53 of its last 79 interleague road games when facing a foe with a winning record.
The A’s cushion in the AL West is shrinking rapidly and they need this win to keep their small edge over the ‘Stros. Take Oakland with Luzardo. Thanks and best of luck, Tom.
TOM STRYKER’S 21-10 MLB RETURN ON INVESTMENT ROAST
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