Rays vs. Red Sox Odds, Preview, Prediction: Slumping Boston Faces AL East Leaders (Wednesday, August 11)
Julio Aguilar / Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Fleming
Rays vs. Red Sox Odds
|Red Sox Odds||-120|
|Over/Under||10.5 (+100 / -120)|
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of 2 p.m. ET Wednesday and via DraftKings.|
The second half from hell continued on Tuesday night for the Red Sox as they took a 4-1 lead over the Rays into the sixth inning only to see Tampa Bay tie things in the seventh and win with a four-run ninth.
Now, Boston will turn things over to its embattled ace, hoping he can turn things around after an incredibly rough stretch.
Is there any value in backing a turnaround for the Red Sox here? Let's jump into this matchup.
Can Rays Starter Josh Fleming Keep the Ks Coming?
The Rays haven't taken the most traditional route to being one of the strongest offenses in the second half of the season, but boy have they done damage. Tampa Bay entered Wednesday with the best Isolated Power in the second half by a decent margin at .218 and an unsurprisingly stellar .801 OPS.
The reason I say it hasn't been traditional is because of the Rays' contact rate, which rests at 75.2%, in 25th place over that time. Tampa Bay has gotten a hefty number of walks (9.1% BB%) and just made the most of having runners on base with great power numbers. A strikeout threat could be a big issue, but they might have an easier time on Wednesday against a struggling Nathan Eovaldi.
Left-hander Josh Fleming will be on the bump for the Rays. He has been a swing-and-miss machine lately with 13 strikeouts in his last two starts, which have gone decently well (5 ER over 10 IP). That's very out of character for Fleming, but it's important to note that a seven-strikeout performance two times ago came against Boston, who has been striking out at a staggering rate.
Overall, he's done a great job of limiting quality contact, and if this strikeout thing becomes a trend, he's going to be a tough cookie on the hill.
Will the Red Sox Turn Things Around Wednesday?
The hard times continue for the Red Sox, who have now lost 11 of 14 games and had a win pried right from their hands on Tuesday. While it'd normally be great to see Eovaldi, their stopper all year, take the ball right about now, he couldn't be any further from the best option on the team.
Eovaldi's last two starts have seen him allow 13 runs on 14 hits, and most concerning, he's struck out just 10 hitters and allowed three homers over that span. The righty also owns an ERA north of five against the Rays over his career and has taken no pleasure in facing his former team this year in two brutal outings.
The Boston Red Sox are now 2-7 in August.
They now trail the Rays by five games in the AL East and are only two games ahead of the Yankees for the second Wild Card spot 😬 pic.twitter.com/wkXkChp0m1
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) August 11, 2021
Offensively, Boston is also in a slight position of weakness facing a left-hander. It's true that the Red Sox have a 102 wRC+ against southpaws, which is technically average, but their performance against lefties over the last couple months has been rough, considering they used to rank near the top of the league in this category.
They also just haven't been a good ballclub since the break, posting a .731 OPS to rank 16th in the league and a weak 24.1% strikeout rate. Boston is also 16th in ISO (.171) and a whopping 26th in contact rate (74.7%) during that time. They have failed to get men on and it has also failed to do damage with quality contact.
Rays-Red Sox Pick
I'm going to back the trends here. The Rays should continue owning the Red Sox, and Boston is nowhere closer to being better with a struggling offense and a struggling Eovaldi.
The fact is, Eovaldi has lost his swing-and-miss touch, and Fleming has seemed to find his. Tampa's offense is unquestionably hot, which makes it very difficult to trust a pitcher with even the fewest bit of question marks.
There is no value on paying for a slumping Red Sox team at this price, and I will happily take the Rays at plus money.
Pick: Rays ML (+100)