A couple familiar foes meet up in the ALDS Red Sox at Rays game 1 matchup. These two AL East rivals have met up 19 times this season, with Tampa Bay winning 11 of them. The Sox also went 3-7 at Tropicana Field this season, where the Rays were 52-29 during the regular season.
Boston already has a win under their belt this postseason, advancing with a 6-2 win over the Yankees in the wild card game on Tuesday even though oddsmakers had them as +118 home underdogs. The Red Sox are +140 underdogs in the ALDS series opener, with TB -152 favorites after winning the AL East by 8 games over Boston.
Red Sox Bats Clicking
Boston got off to a big start on Tuesday when Xander Bogaerts hit a 2-run HR in the bottom of the 1st inning off Yankees starter Gerrit Cole. Kyle Schwarber followed that up with a solo shot in the 3rd and Aaron Boone decided that was enough and turned to his bullpen.
It was another solid offensive outing for the Red Sox who won four of five down the stretch, scoring 4+ in each of those victories. Boston finished the year 5th in scoring (5.12 runs/game), and 3rd in BA and OPS. Schwarber has had a solid final two weeks of the season with a .452 OBP, while Rafael Devers and Hunter Renfroe have combined for 7 HR over that span.
Eduardo Rodriguez (13-8, 4.74) gets the game one start trying to follow up a brilliant 1 ER over 5.1 IP from Nathan Eovaldi on Tuesday. TB has won four straight vs. LH starters, and Rodriguez has a 4.71 ERA in four starts vs. the Rays this season. The Sox pitcher is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA at Tropicana Field this year.
Too Much Pop for Tampa Bay?
The Rays were ‘only’ 6th in the majors in HRs this season but that seems hard to believe with Brandon Lowe, Mike Zunino, and Nelson Cruz also going yard 32+ times in 2021. Lowe was 6th in the majors with 39 HR and catcher Zunino hit 33 even while playing just 109 games. Austin Meadows also added 27 bombs while leading the Rays with 109 RBI. It was the first time a TB batter had knocked in 100+ RBI since 2010.
Lowe has 3 HR in 13 career ABs vs. Boston starter Rodriguez. The Rays having so much potential for offensive success takes some of the spotlight off 20-year old Wander Franco, the rookie who had a 43-game on base streak this season. Franco also has 16 RBI in 16 games vs. Boston this season. That potential is not even taking into account Randy Arozarena, who tore up the 2020 postseason with a .377 average and 10 HR.
Shane McClanahan (10-6, 3.43 ERA) takes the hill for Tampa Bay in his first postseason start. McClanahan made his MLB debut in the playoffs last year, giving up 4 ER over 4.3 IP in relief duty for an 8.31 ERA.
2021 ALDS Red Sox at Rays Game 1 Pick
The Rays have a lot of offense, but so does Boston even if J.D. Martinez misses this game after spraining his ankle in the regular season finale. The Sox have some value for the upset at +138, but the better play is for the offenses to show up.
Red Sox 5 – Rays 6
Free Pick: Over 8