Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Pick 7/22/19
Boston Red Sox (54-46) at Tampa Bay Rays (57-45)
When: 7 p.m., Monday, July 22
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Moneyline: BOS -125/TB +115 (BetNow)
Runline: Red Sox -1.5/Rays +1.5
Starting Pitchers: Eduardo Rodriguez (11-4, 4.34 ERA, 1.30 WHIP) vs. Jalen Beeks (5-0, 2.78 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)
Off the Mat
Well, that was unexpected. Who had the Rays losing twice at home to the White Sox, or the Red Sox getting beat two out of three by the Orioles? But both teams fell apart over the weekend, with Tampa Bay’s offense stuck in neutral and Boston’s pitching getting shellacked at Camden Yards.
Of those two situations, it’s the Rays that have the most cause for concern. Boston getting slapped around at Baltimore is undoubtedly a cause for worry, but the Red Sox had David Price turn in one bad day and then ran into a brilliant performance from Asher Wojciechowski. Tampa Bay hasn’t been hitting for a while now, failing to score more than four runs in eight of its past ten contests.
The good news for the Rays is that when they do hit, they’re relatively effective. In the second half of the season, Tampa Bay is 5-0 when it scores at least four runs. But when the Rays don’t hit that number, they drop to 0-6.
Eduardo Rodriguez has pitched pretty darn well over the past six weeks, winning five of his past seven starts and taking two no-decisions in the process. During that stretch, he’s had five instances where he’s held the opponent to two earned runs or less, showing that he’s not just getting by based on the Red Sox offense. The only game the Red Sox have lost with Rodriguez on the bump has been a 12-8 loss to the Yankees, and that one gets a pass because the Boston bullpen gave up nine runs after Rodriguez left the contest.
So why does this bit of information stop at a mere seven games? Because game eight was the most recent game that Rodriguez lost, a 6-1 defeat at home. Who was the opponent that day that touched him for four earned runs on the way to victory?
Tampa Bay. Of course
Between Opening and Starting
Say one thing for the Rays: they’re willing to push the envelope more than any other franchise in the game. Jalen Beeks pretty much exemplifies the new philosophy the Rays have pushed, taken to the extreme. Tampa Bay’s “opener” strategy is well known by this point, but the Rays go even further with Beeks, as he’s got the endurance to get through three or four innings as opposed to a mere two innings like they do with the openers. Beeks has done pretty well during his past several trips to the mound, holding his opponents to two runs or less in each of his past eight starts.
What he hasn’t done is beat an AL East team. Over the past ten trips to the mound, the only opponent Beeks has faced from his own division is the Yankees, and New York seems to have Tampa Bay’s number at the moment. That’s not the case with Boston.
Know how I just said the Red Sox don’t have the Rays’ number? Well, that’s true…when the game is played at Fenway Park. Bizarrely, the road team is 8-1 in this matchup this year, as the Rays have won five of six in Massachusetts but got swept in their one series at Tropicana Field. Here’s another trend to keep in mind: the past five meetings have all been decided by at least two runs.
- The Red Sox are 5-1 in their past six road games against a left-handed starter.
- The Red Sox are 18-4 in Rodriguez’s last 22 road starts.
- The Rays are 4-1 in their past five games against a left-handed starter.
- The Rays are 1-5 in their past six games.
- The over is 8-1 in the Red Sox’s past nine games after a loss.
- The over is 8-2-3 in the Rays’ last 13 home games against a team with a winning road record.
With the roof on Tropicana Field, the heat of Tampa Bay won’t be an issue in this contest.
These teams aren’t in good form at the moment, but the trends favor the Red Sox here. Not only is Boston a solid road team at nine games over .500, but they’re unbeaten at Tampa Bay this year and Rodriguez has been outstanding away from Fenway Park. The Rays aren’t hitting, and they’re facing a good team that knows how to play away from home, which isn’t an excellent combination for Tampa Bay.
Throw in that the Rays already have virtually no home-field advantage as it is and the crowd will likely be made up of at least 40 percent of Red Sox fans, and it’s difficult to see this going Tampa Bay’s way. Give me the Red Sox here to keep their mastery of Tropicana Field going.
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