TOM STRYKER’S FREE BASEBALL SELECTION FRIDAY, JULY 16TH
#933 TAMPA BAY with Wacha (+110) over Atlanta with Morton at 7:20 PM EST
Before the All-Star break, the Devil Rays closed on a nearly perfect run grabbing wins in six of their last seven games. Still looking up at Boston in the AL East standings just 1.5-games back of the top spot, Tampa Bay will travel to Atlanta and pick up a huge win over a banged-up Braves squad.
Grabbing the pearl for the Rays will be seasoned right-hander Michael Wacha. With 15 games in the books in 2021 including 10 starts, No. 52 was tapped for 31 earned runs and 60 hits in 57.1 innings of work. Wacha assembled a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 50-16 and owns a 2-2 record with a 4.87 ERA. Working under the lights has worked well for Michael too. At night, Wacha has been scratched for only 13 earned runs and 31 hits in 30.1 frames. That equates to a 1-2 mark with a 3.86 ERA.
On the bump for the Braves will be 14-year veteran Charlie Morton. With 18 starts completed in 2021, No. 50 has been zapped for 40 earned runs and 76 hits in 99.0 innings. Morton whiffed 114 and walked 33 en route to a solid 8-3 tally with a 3.64 ERA. Charlie has faced the Devil Rays five times in his career (all starts) and posted a 2-3 record with a 3.23 ERA.
Technically speaking, this is an ideal spot for the visitors. Tampa Bay has tasted victory in 12 of its last 16 against NL East teams, 21 of its last 29 when facing a foe that holds a team won/loss percentage less than .500, and 66 of its last 98 when matched up against a National League opponent that owns a losing record. On the other side of Truist Park, Hotlanta has been ice-cold in their last 16 games against AL opponents posting a 3-13 record. Even worse, Atlanta has dropped 42 of its last 62 in interleague play when battling an opponent that holds a team won/loss percentage greater than .500, eight of its last nine when favored against NL foes, and seven straight when hosting an American League team.
The Braves are without the services of star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (torn right ACL) and it’s going to take time for them to adjust without him in the lineup. Take Tampa Bay with Wacha. Thanks and best of luck, Tom.
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