Game Preview: Elder takes the bump in Braves last game before the All-Star break

The Atlanta Braves conclude the first half of their 2023 season with the series finale in Tampa. They will be looking for their 61st win of the year.

Atlanta Braves v Tampa Bay Rays
Atlanta Braves v Tampa Bay Rays / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves reached 60 wins before any other team in baseball last night. This afternoon, they will look to put a bow on a very dominant first half of baseball. The win last night clinched the series, and made it 11 series wins in a row.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay have now lost seven straight ballgames and seen their lead in the AL East trimmed to two games over the Baltimore Orioles. If the Braves can score at least five runs today, they will join Texas as the only teams to reach 500 runs scored before the break.

All-Star Bryce Elder will get his last start of a magical first half. With Strider pitching yesterday and Elder going today it’s almost certain neither pitch in the midsummer classic. Thankfully, the Braves have plenty of position players to watch in Seattle.

Pitching Matchup for Braves vs. Rays

Bryce Elder will be entering his final start of the first half with a 7-1 record, 2.45 ERA, 54.5 GB%, all in just over 102 innings of work. Quite the first half for the Gwinnett Stripers opening day starter. As you can imagine with Elder’s limited experience, no one on the Rays has seen him.

The Braves offense will take on a guy they saw a lot of in Philadelphia, Zach Eflin. However, this seems to be an improved Eflin as the Tampa Bay pitching factory has turned around another arm. Eflin currently has a career low ERA (3.24), FIP (3.09), and WHIP (0.997).

Ozzie Albies has the best career numbers off Eflin, with a batting average over .300 and one home run. The Braves will also be looking to break the franchise record of consecutive games with at least one home run. The current streak sits at 25.

How to watch Braves vs. Rays - 7/9/23

Date/Time/Location: 7/9/2023 at 1:40 PM EST at Tropicana Field

TV: Bally Sports Southeast

Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan