The Atlanta Braves will once again face off against the Tampa Bay Rays tonight for the second game of their weekend series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. ET at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL. Spencer Strider (10-2, 3.66 ERA) will step on the hill for the Braves while Taj Bradley (5-4, 5.27 ERA) will get the nod for the Rays.
Atlanta enters the game as a -150 favorite on the moneyline over at DraftKings Sportsbook, while Tampa Bay is a +130 underdog. The run total is set at 8.
Braves-Rays picks: Saturday, July 8th
Out: RP Jesse Chavez (shin), RP Dylan Lee (shoulder), RP Tyler Matzek (elbow), SS Ehire Adrianza (elbow)
Out: RP Andrew Kittredge (elbow)
Strider hasn’t taken a loss since May 23 and even when he’s been shaky during his starts, he’s been backed up by what has been the most explosive offense in the league during that stretch. He was excellent in his most recent start against the Marlins last Sunday, striking out nine batters in 6.2 innings and yielding just two earned runs. It’s been especially tough for opposing batters to get to the NL Cy Young candidate early as hitters are collectively batting just .221 against him in their first trip through the lineup.
The rookie Bradley has been hot and cold so far and has run into back-to-back rough outings. The latest came in their 7-6 loss to the Mariners last Sunday, where he lasted just 3.1 innings and gave up five earned runs off nine hits. He and the defense squandered an early 6-1 lead the offense had built up, so he’ll look to do a better job at holding down the fort tonight.
Despite Tampa Bay’s struggles during this home stand, these are still two of the top offenses in the majors and both are capable of catching fire at any time. I’ll predict both teams gain traction around the base paths tonight and default to the over.
Pick: Over 8
The Rays have hit a wall with this current six-game winning streak and are desperately trying to get to the Al-Star break to reset. They squandered opportunity after opportunity to put runs on the board in last night’s 2-1 loss, a game where their pitching staff held the Braves to just two hits for the entire game. Despite facing a buzzsaw in Strider tonight, I’ll predict this being the game where Randy Arozarena and company get some of their juice back in the batter’s box and emerge victorious.