TOM STRYKER’S FREE BASEBALL SELECTION THURSDAY, JULY 6TH
#974 TAMPA BAY with Armstrong (-150) over Philadelphia with Sanchez at 6:40 PM EST
Off four consecutive losses and with their lead in the AL East down to 5.0-games over the Orioles, look for the Devil Rays to bounce back with a solid effort in this series finale. Tampa Bay welcomes Atlanta for a tough three-game set over the weekend and manager Kevin Cash knows his troops can’t afford to get swept by Philadelphia.
Right-handed reliever Shawn Armstrong will take the mound for the home team. With 12 appearances in the books this season including one start, No. 64 was touched for only two earned runs and 12 hits in 15.2 innings of work. Shawn fanned 15 and issued four free passes on his way to an 0-0 record and a solid 1.15 ERA. Overall, for three years with the Rays, Armstrong has hit the hill 66 times (four starts) and been nicked for 32 earned runs and 79 hits in 86.2 frames. That shakes down to a 3-3 tally with a respectable 3.32 ERA.
Southpaw Cristopher Sanchez will grab the pearl for the visitors. In three June outings versus the Nationals, Mets, and A’s, No. 61 was tapped for four earned runs and 13 hits in 15.0 innings. Cristopher struck out 15 and walked two on his way to an 0-2 mark with a 2.40 ERA. Overall, with three years in the bank for the Phils, Sanchez has appeared in 26 games (eight starts) and been slapped for 39 earned runs and 72 hits in 72.0 frames. After the math, that adds up to a 3-4 record with a 4.88 ERA.
Several lucrative team trends back this money-maker, too. Tampa Bay has tasted victory in 23 of its last 30 against a left-handed starter, 41 of its last 55 when hosting a National League foe, 36 of its last 51 after dropping the first two games of a series, and 21 of its last 30 after allowing five runs or more last.
Respect is given to the Phillies and their 11-game winning streak on foreign soil. However, the Rays are starting to feel the heat in the division race, and they need this win badly before the red-hot Braves arrive. Take Tampa Bay with Armstrong. Thanks and best of luck, Tom.
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