Rays vs. Red Sox Betting Odds, Pick & Prediction: Should Tampa Be a Dog, Even Against Chris Sale?
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Wander Franco.
- The Red Sox are favored over the Rays in Monday afternoon MLB action (1:10 p.m. ET, ESPN).
- Tampa will send Ryan Yarbrough, its most atypical pitcher, to the mound against Boston's Chris Sale.
- See how we're betting Rays vs. Red Sox below.
Rays vs. Red Sox Odds
|Red Sox Odds||-145|
|Time||1:10 p.m. ET|
The Red Sox find themselves in the COVID crockpot with 11 players currently on the COVID list. They will be without All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts, as well as Kiki Henrandez, Jarren Duran, Christian Arroyo, Yairo Munoz Danny Santana, and pitchers Matt Barnes, Josh Taylor, Martin Perez, Hirokazu Sawamura, and Nick Pivetta.
At 39-17, the Tampa Bay Rays have the best record in baseball since July 1. They have a 7.5 game lead in the AL East standings and a 6.5 lead on Houston for the No. 1 seed in the American League playoffs. The Rays have a +174 run differential.
Boston on the other hand, is 28-29 and fighting to hang onto the second Wild Card spot in the AL East. This three-game series will conclude the 19-game season series between the two AL rivals, with Tampa Bay currently up 9-7. The Rays are 7-3 in the last 10 meetings against Boston.
Rays Staying Red Hot
The Rays will have Ryan Yarbrough (LHP) on the mound. The lefty has made 19 starts this year and six appearances out of the bullpen; he has been much more effective in relief.
In his starts this season, Yarbrough is 5-4 with a 4.95 ERA with teams hitting .268 against him, up from his .205 average out of the bullpen. Just this month he started against Baltimore and gave up five runs in five innings. The following week he faced Baltimore out of the bullpen and tossed five scoreless innings. Maybe Tampa Bay should just bring him in after the first inning.
Most of the Rays staff throws in the upper 90s, but Yarbrough’s fastest pitch is his sinker that averages just 86.3 miles per hour. He ranks in the bottom 15% of the league in strikeout percentage at 18.7%.
While the strength of the Rays is their bullpen, holding the best reliever ERA in the league, the offense has also been really good this year. Tampa Bay ranks 10th in wOBA and fourth in wRC+. Since July 1, the Rays are second in wOBA and first in wRC+.
No. 1 prospect Wander Franco made his highly-anticipated debut on June 22 and has wasted no time becoming one of Tampa Bay’s best hitters. In his last 30 games, he is batting .328 and leads the team in hits, runs, and doubles.
Red Sox Offense Hasn’t Been a Problem
Boston had been without its ace for two full calendar years before Chris Sale (LHP) returned on August 14. He had made four starts since returning and looks well, like Chris Sale. He is 3-0 with a 2.53 ERA.
Just like Sale has done his whole career, his fastball and slider have already looked dominant. His fastball is allowing just a .139 batting average against with his slider surrendering a .182 average. Both have registered at least a 34% strikeout rate.
Sale has yet to have a truly dominant strikeout performance since his return, and he has allowed four home runs already.
The Red Sox struggles certainly cannot be blamed on the offense. They have been one of the best hitting teams all season, and that hasn’t changed during their recent slide. Over the last 30 days, Boston ranks first in wOBA and third in wRC+.
Losing Bogaerts is obviously not ideal, but he has been struggling for a while at the plate. Bobby Dalbec and Alex Verdugo have probably been the Sox two best hitters recently, and Hunter Renfroe and Kyle Schwarber are also hitting well.
Rays-Red Sox Pick
Both of these pitcher’s will be facing this opponent for the second straight game. Sale allowed six hits and two runs over six innings against the Rays last week, and Yarbrough allowed five hits and two runs over six innings, earning the win against Boston.
These two offenses both rank in the top 10 in wOBA and wRC+ this season and have each been great. However, over the last month, Tampa Bay ranks second in the league against lefties, and the Red Sox rank 12th.
Tampa Bay has the best bullpen in the league, and Boston is missing its closer, as well as some other key members of their lineup with COVID.
The Rays are one of the best teams in the entire league and are 7-3 in the last 10 meetings against Boston. They should not be this big of an underdog against anybody, even with Sale on the mound.
Pick: Tampa Bay Rays ML +135 (Play to +130)