A couple of AL East rivals meet up for a 4-game set starting with the Monday August 30th Red Sox at Rays matchup. Boston is 8 games back of Tampa Bay in the AL East, but needs a good series to hold on to the 2.5 game lead over Oakland for the 2nd wild card spot.
The Rays also have a 6-game lead over the Yankees despite New York winning 13 in a row recently. Tampa Bay swept the Red Sox the last time Boston visited the Trop, and the Rays took 2 of 3 at Fenway Park when the teams last met August 10th – 12th. Tampa Bay is a -132 favorite ahead of Monday’s series opener (BOS +122) having won 7 of the last 8 head to head contests.
Red Sox Need a Good Showing
Thanks to a 6-game losing streak by the A’s and a 5-2 run of their own, Boston has climbed into a 2.5 game lead for the 2nd wild card spot in the AL. Oakland might be turning things around a bit after beating the Yankees the last two games, so Boston needs a strong series in St. Pete.
Boston is 6-3 over their last 9, but that has also come against Texas, Minnesota, and Cleveland who are all out of the hunt for the postseason. Competition aside, the Red Sox offense is clicking right now. Bobby Dalbec and Rafael Devers have both slugged 3 HRs over the past week, and Dalbec (.615) leads a contingent of 8 Boston batters with an OBP better than .400 over that span.
The Red Sox have lost in 4 of the last 5 Nick Pivetta (9-6, 4.57 ERA) starts. including a 3-2 defeat in Tampa when the right-hander allowed 3 runs and 3 hits over 4.2 IP. Pivetta has struggled a bit his last two times through the rotation, giving up 4 ER each to the Yankees and Twins while lasting a total of just 5.2 IP.
Rays Set for Big Offensive Night?
Putting a struggling Pivetta on the mound on the road against a red hot Tampa Bay offense is not the ideal situation for Boston. The Rays are riding a 7-game win streak and have won 11 of their last 12, scoring 5+ runs in 10 of those contests.
Rookie and #1 prospect in baseball Wander Franco has been a driving force behind Tampa Bay’s late season offensive surge. Franco debuted with a HR on June 22nd and hasn’t looked back, currently sporting a 29-game on base streak, closing in on Mickey Mantle’s AL record of 36 for a player under the age of 21.
Of course the Rays are far from a one man offense, look no further than Joey Wendle going 3 for 4 with 6 RBI in Sunday’s 12-2 win over the Orioles. The Boston bats have been getting on base too though, meaning Luis Patino (3-3, 4.53 ERA) has to be sharp in the August 30th Red Sox at Rays contest. Patino gave up 4 ER over 6.0 IP in an 8-4 win over Boston on August 10th.
August 30th Red Sox at Rays Pick
Both teams are playing well coming into this matchup, but how do you go against the Rays with such a solid -132 price tag? Pivetta has had a couple rough outings in a row, something that will likely only continue against this Tampa Bay offense.
Rays 7 – Red Sox 4
Free Pick: Rays -132
Free Pick: Over 9