The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays will finish their three-game series at Tropicana Field on Wednesday night. With that said, it’s a good time to check out our MLB odds series, which includes a Red Sox-Rays prediction and pick, laid out below.
Boston has been a disaster this season, going 67-70 this season, the only team with a losing record in the AL East. The team will miss the playoffs, but has already pledged the futures of manager Alex Cora and General Manager Chaim Bloom. Now, the team can play the role of spoiler.
Tampa Bay has gone 76-58 this season, closing the gap on the Yankees, just four and a half games behind them for the AL East crown. Tampa Bay leads the AL Wild Card, and should easily secure a spot in the playoffs. Once again, Tampa Bay has gotten things done in unconventional ways.
Here are the Red Sox-Rays MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
MLB Odds: Red Sox-Rays Odds
Boston Red Sox: +1.5 (-150)
Tampa Bay Rays: -1.5 (+125)
Over: 7 (-118)
Under: 7 (-104)
Why The Red Sox Could Cover The Spread
Boston will send Nick Pivetta to the mound tonight, and the righty leads the team with 150.1 innings pitched and 145 strikeouts. Pivetta has pitched to a 4.37 ERA but has allowed 20 home runs in those 150.1 innings. In a season full of disappointment for the team, Pivetta has consistently taken the ball and provided valuable innings for the club, but with merely average results. Pivetta's slider has devastated batters, to the tune of a .197 batting average against. In his lowest mark since 2018, Pivetta is walking just 8.7% of batters he has faced. Boston's bullpen owns the fifth-worst ERA in the league with a 4.60 mark.
As is the story for the team, the bullpen has been hampered by injury and inconsistency. With Tanner Houck out for the season, closing duties have been split between Garrett Whitlock and John Schreiber. Whitlock, a Rule 5 pickup, has pitched to a brilliant 2.72 ERA in 36.1 innings out of the bullpen, striking out 40 while walking just five. Schreiber has struck out 64 batters in 55.1 innings, with a 2.11 ERA. Against Schreiber's fastball and slider, batters have hit a combined .151, with 56 strikeouts in 126 at-bats.
Boston's offense clearly misses its former catalyst Mookie Betts, leaving Rafael Devers and JD Martinez as the remaining threats. Devers has impressed, leading the team with 34 doubles, 25 home runs, and 73 RBI. Xander Bogaerts leads the team with a .315 batting average, adding 37 doubles, 12 home runs, and eight stolen bases. Trevor Story, the big offseason pickup for the club, is second with 16 home runs and leads the team with 12 stolen bases. JD Martinez has also hit 37 doubles, adding 11 home runs. Alex Verdugo has slashed .286/.332/.410 with nine home runs and 34 doubles. Exciting prospect Triston Casas has joined the club, giving the fan base something to watch down the stretch. Casas has already launched his first career home run. Boston leads the league with an impressive total of 310 doubles, nearly 30 more than the next closest team while ranking fourth with a .259 batting average.
Why The Rays Could Cover The Spread
Tampa Bay has once again found a way to get production from unpredictable contributors. Randy Arozarena is up to his old tricks, with 19 home runs, 34 doubles, and 27 stolen bases to lead the team in all three categories. Isaac Paredes is second with 18 home runs after being acquired from Detroit shortly before the season started. Yandy Diaz has slashed .289/.396/.421 with eight home runs, 21 doubles, and 70 walks against just 51 strikeouts. Outfielder Harold Ramirez was acquired from the Cubs in a minor trade just a couple of weeks before the season. All Ramirez has done in his 96 games since joining the club is hit .327 with five home runs and 20 doubles. Tampa Bay is fifth with 245 doubles, 12th with 78 stolen bases, and tied for 12th with 414 walks.
While the offense is solid, the pitching is the real story of the Rays' success this season. The team ranks third in overall ERA with a 3.27 mark, and the bullpen has pitched to a 3.28 mark, eighth in the league. Jeffrey Springs will be tonight's starting pitcher, bringing a 2.62 ERA in his 27 appearances, and 19 starts. In those 19 starts, Springs has pitched to a 2.90 ERA in 96.1 innings, striking out 106 batters. Springs' chase rate is in the 96th percentile, and he has struck out 27% against just a 6% walk rate. Closer Jason Adam has been lights out, with a 1.28 ERA in 60 appearances.
Final Red Sox-Rays Prediction & Pick
Boston seems to be in a bit of a rut, so let's roll with Tampa Bay.
Final Red Sox-Rays Prediction & Pick: Tampa Bay -1.5 (+125), over 7 (-118)