TOM STRYKER’S FREE BASEBALL SELECTION FRIDAY, JULY 14TH
#976 ATLANTA RUN-LINE with Morton (-1′ -134) over Chicago with Kopech at 7:20 PM EST
The Braves carry the best record in baseball, and they’ll have no trouble extending the margin when the White Sox come to town. Atlanta’s lead over Miami rests at 8.5-games in the NL East and manager Brian Snitker would like to see his troops burst out of the gate after the All-Star break and increase that number over the weekend.
Veteran right-hander Charlie Morton will hit the hump for the home team. In his last five performances against the Devil Rays, Marlins, Reds, Rockies, and Tigers, No. 50 was nicked for only seven earned runs and 24 hits in 27.2 innings of work. Charlie struck out 34 and walked 12 on his way to a 4-0 tally with a powerful 2.28 ERA. Overall, with 17 starts in the books this season, Morton has been touched for just 37 earned runs and 95 hits in 97.0 frames. After the math, that adds up to a 9-6 record with a respectable 3.43 ERA.
Young righty Michael Kopech will counter for the visitors. Facing the Halos, Rangers, and M’s in his last three performances, No. 34 was tripped for six earned runs and 14 hits in 12.1 innings. Michael fanned 12 and issued 16 free passes (serious control problems) on his way to a dismal 0-2 mark with a 4.38 ERA. The Mount Pleasant, Texas product hasn’t been at his best under the lights either. At night, Kopech has been clocked for 18 earned runs and 28 hits in 40.1 frames. That shakes down to a nasty 1-4 mark with a 4.02 ERA.
Several lucrative trends support this diamond investment. Atlanta has won 15 of its last 17 at home against the run-line, 11 straight coming off a loss of four runs or more, and 28 of its last 38 when facing a foe that owns a team won/loss percentage less than .500. On the other side of the yard, Chicago has fallen in 35 of its last 56 when fighting a winning opponent, seven of its last nine overall, and 36 of its last 54 in the role of an underdog.
With an opportunity to send their closest competitor in the division to a double-digit defict, the Braves will drop the hammer in this interleague contest. Take Atlanta on the run-line with Morton. Thanks and best of luck, Tom.
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