Rays vs Red Sox Odds & Prediction: Wednesday Moneyline Pick

Rays vs Red Sox Odds & Prediction: Wednesday Moneyline Pick article feature image

Brian Fluharty/Getty Images. Pictured: Tampa Bay’s Josh Lowe.

Rays vs Red Sox Odds & Prediction

Wednesday, May 15
7:10 p.m. ET
Tampa Bay Rays Odds
MoneylineOver/UnderRun Line
-115o / -105u
Boston Red Sox Odds
MoneylineOver/UnderRun Line
-115o / -105u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox have split a pair of one-run games to open up their first series of the season, and with two excellent starting pitchers toeing the slab on Wednesday at Fenway Park, we should be treated to yet another very contentious affair.

Tanner Houck has looked the part of a front-end starter through the first two months of the season, and Taj Bradley appears to be back to pitching like a quality starter — but might the underlying numbers give us a clue as to how this game will transpire?

Let's make a Rays vs Red Sox prediction and pick as we take a look at the MLB odds for Wednesday, May 15.

Check out our MLB Betting Hub for more previews from today's slate.

Tampa Bay Rays

Let's start by talking about Bradley, who turned in an excellent first start off the injured list last week against the New York Yankees. He went six innings, allowing just a run on four hits and two walks with seven punchouts.

It was an excellent start by the talented young righty, given he didn't quite deliver on his potential during a shaky 2023 season. However, he didn't really show any marked improvements on his weaknesses.

Sure, Bradley continues to strike out batters at a high rate, but with two walks, he reminded us of the constant struggles he had in that area.

He also yielded two barrels in that one after posting a poor barrel rate in 2023, which is why Statcast expected him to have a bit of a different line than the one he ultimately finished with.

I'm not going to pretend to care about xBA and xERA numbers from one start, but I think we can say with certainty that Bradley's profile hasn't changed a whole lot. He's still relying heavily upon strikeouts, struggling to pitch to contact with few ground-balls and many barrels.

The potential is there for a ton more, and Bradley did see a spike in ground-balls over the last three months of last season, but I think the jury is still very much out on how he stands in the present day.

The good news is that it may not matter a ton.

The Rays' bullpen has been excellent, and their offense ranks sixth in wRC+ over the last couple of weeks after returning several big bats to the lineup like Josh Lowe and Jonny DeLuca.

Now, Jonathan Aranda has joined the fold and should see his first start of the season on Wednesday.

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Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox have been the polar opposite of Tampa Bay at the plate over the last 14 days, ranking dead last in the league with a 75 wRC+. They've struck out in an unsightly 27.6% of plate appearances and have had no redeeming qualities to speak of with a measly .122 isolated power.

They've put more and more balls on the ground, too, which isn't exactly what you want to see out of a team wasting so many at-bats with strikeouts.

Over on the hill, though, Houck has been excellent.

His 2.24 ERA is about a full run below his xERA on account of an inflated .255 xBA, but it's not a grave concern given his xSLG has come down from where it was a year ago to right around the league norm. Plus, his walk rate is all the way down at 3.8%.

The biggest thing to watch here is the matchup between an extreme ground-ball pitcher in Houck against a Rays team hitting .260 against ground-ball pitchers this season, according to Baseball Reference.

It's a matchup Tampa Bay has enjoyed. While you may expect a team's overall offensive outlook to be uninspiring against a pitcher who rolls up ground-balls, the Rays are actually slugging their best in this split at .376.

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Rays vs Red Sox

Betting Pick & Prediction

While the Rays have welcomed ground-ballers with open arms this year, the Red Sox have struggled against power pitchers like Bradley with a .230/.309/.354 slash line.

They've much preferred to hit finesse pitchers — particularly ones who pitch to ground-ball contact — which should make for some tough sledding here despite what the expected numbers have said about Bradley over the last year.

When you factor in the Rays' surging offense, which is getting stronger by the week with so many important bats returning to the lineup, I think the choice here is quite clear.

Houck is due for a slight bit of regression, and it should come here in a very uncomfortable matchup.

I'd also like to point out that the Red Sox infield ranks 22nd in Outs Above Average this season, which has made life a living nightmare at times for their many ground-ball pitchers like Houck.

We should see the hits pile up for the Rays in what should be a pretty convincing victory.

Pick: Rays ML (+115)

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