TOM STRYKER’S FREE BASEBALL SELECTION FRIDAY, JUNE 18TH
#977 TAMPA BAY with Wacha (-113) over Seattle with Kikuchi at 10:10 PM EST
Checking in off a pair of one-run losses at Seattle and Chicago (White Sox), Tampa Bay will go all out when it takes the field at T-Mobile Park on Friday night. The Devil Rays are clinging to a 0.5-game lead in the AL East standings and they need this dub to stay on top.
Veteran righty Michael Wacha will toe the rubber for the Rays. With 11 appearances in the books this year for the Bay (seven starts), No. 52 has been scratched for only 20 earned runs and 37 hits in 39.2 innings. Wacha has fanned 30 and walked 11 en route to a 1-1 mark with a 4.54 ERA. Michael has been incredibly effective on the road too. On foreign soil, Wacha has surrendered only nine earned runs and 18 hits through 23.0 frames. After the math, that adds up to a 1-1 record with a 3.52 ERA.
Left-hander Yusei Kikuchi will grab the pearl for the M’s. Matched up against the Indians, Angles, and Rangers in his last three starts, No. 18 was tripped for five earned runs and 12 hits in 17.2 innings. Kikuchi fanned 19 and walked four on his way to a 1-0 tally with a 2.55 ERA. Unfortunately, Yusei has been at his worst under the lights this season. At night, Kikuchi has been crushed for 23 earned runs and 37 hits in 40.0 frames. That’s bad enough for a 1-2 mark and a soft 5.18 ERA.
A multitude of strong team trends support this wager. Tampa Bay has won 12 of its last 15 when facing a foe that allowed five runs or more last, 10 of its last 13 battling a southpaw, 19 of its last 26 fighting an opponent that holds a team won/loss percentage less than .500, and 57 of its last 83 as a favorite. In comparison, Seattle has fallen in 13 of its last 19 in the second game of a series and 44 of its last 62 facing a foe that holds a team won/loss percentage greater than .600.
The M’s got the best of the Rays last night. Rest assured; manager Kevin Cash’s boys will get even in this rematch. Take Tampa Bay with Wacha. Thanks and best of luck, Tom.
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