Rays vs Red Sox Game 1 Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Saturday, June 3
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Tanner Houck (Red Sox)
Rays vs. Red Sox Odds
-110 / -110
|Red Sox Odds|
-110 / -110
[Editorial Note: As a result of Friday night's postponed game, the pitching matchups for both of Saturday's games have changed.]
Both of these teams have hit well in the last month. Hitting has propelled Tampa Bay into the best record in baseball, while the Red Sox are still above .500 in the best division in baseball.
Houck has some more encouraging peripherals. He doesn't permit the hard contact that Fleming does, and he's much more effective when it comes to striking out hitters.
Given how the Rays have faltered slightly with the sticks in the last week, the Red Sox are the right bet on the moneyline.
Fleming has been horrific lately. On the season, he ranks in the fifth percentile in hard hit rate and the 16th percentile in average exit velocity, while only topping out around 90 mph with his fastball.
His strikeout rate is a putrid 11.6% with a 9.2% walk rate. His ERA is not what it should be, as his xERA is above five.
Finally, he allowed 22 balls over 95 mph to the Dodgers in his last start.
All of these factors are reasonable enough to fade him against the Red Sox.
The Dodgers hit 22 Josh Fleming pitches at 95+ MPH, the most hard hit balls vs. one pitcher in any game in the entire Statcast era.
And the Rays won the game. pic.twitter.com/cFNqqA9JpC
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) May 29, 2023
The Rays can hit the ball, though. Since May 1, they have a team wRC+ off of righties of 113 with an OPS of .746.
However, these numbers have fallen in the last week to 88 and .651, respectively.
Given this recent trend and Houck’s expected improved stats in the future, the Red Sox are better positioned to have an edge over the Rays' lineup.
The Rays' bullpen has shockingly been one of their worst attributes. Again, since May 1, they have a 4.84 xFIP, only ahead of the Oakland A’s, who have a historically bad pitching staff this season.
Two of their best arms in that timeframe — Zack Littell and Garrett Cleavinger — are on the injured list. Shawn Armstrong and Pete Fairbanks are, as well, so Boston has the opportunity to score late in this one.
Houck is actually underrated. His 5.30 ERA doesn't tell the entire story, as he owns a 3.79 xERA.
He does allow some hard contact, ranking in the 30th percentile in average exit velocity and the 39th percentile in hard hit rate. But these numbers are still significantly better than Fleming.
His walk rate is also only 7.7%, so this is an edge over Fleming.
Lastly, he has only one outing with over four earned runs, so he won't put the game out of reach for the Boston lineup.
Boston has a 126 wRC+ and a .827 OPS off of lefties since May 1. If it faces a righty in this game, that number does drop to 101, which is still slightly above average.
On the season, the BoSox have six active hitters above a .340 xwOBA, which encompasses the majority of their lineup. They should put up some runs on both Fleming and the alternatives.
In relief, Boston is better than the Rays, with a 4.44 xFIP since May 1. Even if that number is not too convincing, the Sox have four options in relief under a 4.00 mark. This is better than Tampa Bay, and Houck can typically go at least five innings, boosting the pen.
Rays vs. Red Sox Betting Pick
Fleming is a much worse pitcher than Houck, and the Tampa bullpen is horrible.
The Red Sox have a tremendous pitching advantage in this game, and the Red Sox lineup has been hotter over the last week.
Back Boston in game one of the doubleheader. Take them from +135 to -110.
This should be closer to a pick ‘em.