Red Sox vs Rays Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Tuesday, September 5
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images. Pictured: Kutter Crawford
Red Sox vs. Rays Odds
The Boston Red Sox took the first game of the series yesterday from the Tampa Bay Rays. Boston was able to fight back despite a dominant performance from Aaron Civale.
The Rays' bullpen issues have continuously plagued them down the stretch, and that is a significant factor in our angle for tonight's matchup. However, Boston's bullpen has not been much better.
So, with the back-half of this matchup in question, what's the best way to bet the game? Let's dive in and uncover it.
Boston has massively outperformed expectations at the dish this season. The Red Sox come into tonight with a .264 team batting average, which is the third-highest in baseball, despite only having three qualified hitters with above-average hard-hit rates.
While they do an excellent job of putting the ball in play, they do not make the level of contact that warrants that high of a team average. Their xBA of .249 shows that quite clearly.
Their impending regression will begin tonight as they have to contend with Zach Eflin. Eflin has been a revelation for the Rays this season, as he's become one of the toughest guys to square up in baseball.
He has displayed impeccable command of his arsenal and forces hitters to take whatever they get from him. His chase rate sits in the 92nd percentile and he generates soft ground balls with his sinker and cutter. In addition, his curveball has been one of the best in baseball, as it has an xBA of just .170 and a 35 percent whiff rate.
Eflin may be the last guy a regressing Red Sox lineup wants to face, as his strengths play right into their demise.
The Rays' lineup is in a very similar spot to Boston's in this matchup. Tampa has regressed mightily from their early season hot streak and has endured many key losses along the way. Randy Arozarena and Yandy Diaz have had to shoulder the load, but they are not without a solid supporting cast.
However, the issue is that the majority of the Rays' lineup is inconsistent, and their contact metrics suggest sizable regression. In steps Kutter Crawford, a pitcher with a similar profile to his counterpart tonight.
Crawford relies on — get this — his cutter to create soft contact and get hitters to chase outside the zone. The Rays hold the fifth-highest chase rate in baseball, which means the majority of at-bats should bode well for Crawford.
Red Sox vs. Rays
Betting Pick & Prediction
I mentioned in the open how both of these bullpens have been struggling. Well, the great thing for us is that we can avoid them entirely by focusing on the first five.
Each starter tonight has an edge against their opposition. Eflin is in line to dominate, as his arsenal should give the Red Sox fits by creating quick outs on soft contact.
As for Crawford, look for his name-sake pitch to capitalize on the Rays' flaw of chasing outside the zone. If he can be careful with the likes of Arozarena and Diaz, I like his chances against the rest of the order.
Take the first five under tonight.
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