TOM STRYKER’S FREE BASEBALL SELECTION FRIDAY, JUNE 2ND
#957 ATLANTA with Morton (-130) over Arizona with Kelly at 9:40 PM EST
After dropping two of three on the road to the hapless A’s and with blemishes in four of their last six games, the Braves will travel to the desert and approach this matchup with a sense of urgency. Atlanta’s lead in the NL East rests at an uncomfortable 3.5-games over New York (Mets) and manager Brian Snitker’s troops know they need to pick up the pace.
Veteran right-hander Charlie Morton will grab the pearl for the visitors. With a grand total of 10 starts completed this year, No. 50 has allowed 23 earned runs and 61 hits in 57.2 innings of work. Charlie whiffed 63 and walked 24 on his way to a 5-5 tally with a 3.59 ERA. History will provide an assist in this matchup, too. Morton has made 12 career starts against the D’Backs (striking out 69 batters in 67.1 frames) and inked a phenomenal 5-1 mark with a reliable 4.01 ERA.
Righty Merrill Kelly will counter for the home team. Facing the Red Sox, Pirates, and A’s in his last three starts, No. 29 was nicked for only four earned runs and 11 hits in 18.1 innings. Merrill struck out 23 and walked five on his way to a 3-0 record with a blistering 1.96 ERA. Thankfully, for us, Kelly has been at his worst at home this season (2-3 mark with a 3.75 ERA) and struggled in this series (0-2 with a 4.05 ERA in three career starts).
Plenty of elite team trends support this top shelf investment. Atlanta has tasted victory in 39 of its last 54 in the first game of a series, seven of its last 10 as a guest against the D’Backs, 35 of its last 51 when rolling with a day of rest, and 49 of its last 71 when coming off a win. On the flip side of the yard, Arizona has fallen in 88 of its last 129 when facing a foe that allowed two runs or less in their last game.
After sweeping the Rockies in a four-game series, the Diamondbacks will have trouble when they step up in class and battle this solid Braves unit. Take Atlanta with Morton. Thanks and best of luck, Tom.
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