The Tampa Bay Rays (45-40, 25-17 home) host the Boston Red Sox (47-39, 24-19 away) in a four-game series beginning Monday night, the final week prior to the All-Star break. The two American League East foes have already faced each other six times this year, with the Rays holding a 4-2 advantage.
The first pitch of the series opener is set for 7:10 p.m. EST inside Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Boston is a slight betting favorite at -120, and the over-under total is 7.5 runs.
What to Know – Boston Red Sox
Boston feels good heading into the final week of the first half after knocking off its rival, the New York Yankees, on Saturday and Sunday. The Red Sox still have a mountain to climb if they want to win the division, trailing New York by 14 games.
The Red Sox expected starting pitcher is right-hander Brayan Bello (0-1, 9.00 ERA, 2.25 WHIP). The 23-year-old rookie makes his second start of his career versus the same team he made his debut against. Bello tossed 4.0 innings in his debut, serving up four earned runs on six hits, three walks, and striking out a pair.
Behind the hitting of Rafael Devers and Trevor Story, Boston has been one of the toughest offenses against opposing pitchers in 2022. Story has driven in 58 runs while Devers leads the team with 19 home runs and 51 RBIs himself.
The Red Sox lead the majors with a .261 team batting average and produces 4.8 runs per game. Boston’s pitching staff showcases a 3.81 team earned run average, 14th in the MLB.
What to Know – Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays hope to have continued success against Boston after suffering a rare three-game sweep at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend. Tampa Bay sits in third in the AL East, 1.5 games behind the Red Sox.
Right-hander Matt Wisler (2-3, 2.58 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) gets the nod on the hill for Tampa Bay. The 29-year-old has served predominantly out of the bullpen but logs his fifth start of the year as the team’s opener.
Wisler hasn’t surrendered a run over his last four appearances but has thrown only 38.1 innings, surrendering 11 earned runs on 28 hits and 14 walks with 31 strikeouts.
Randy Arozarena leads the Rays with 40 RBIs and 40 runs scored. Arozarena is a true threat at the plate and on the base paths, ranking fifth in the MLB with 18 stolen bases. The 23-year-old Isaac Paredes has burst onto the scene during his first year with the Rays with 13 home runs in just 46 played.
Tampa Bay averages 4.1 runs per contest thanks to a .238 team batting average that ranks 21st in the league. The pitching staff for the Rays is fourth in the MLB with a 3.35 team ERA.
The Pick is In
The Rays have had success against Boston this season and get the Red Sox at home after an exhausting series against the Yankees. Tampa Bay knocked the rookie Bello around the first time and expect the offense to do it again Monday night.
The Pick: Tampa Bay Rays ML