Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays Pick 9/1/21
Boston Red Sox (75-58) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (83-48)
When: 7:10 p.m., Wednesday, September 1
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Moneyline: BOS -125/TB +105 (Bovada - 50% bonus + best live betting platform!)
Runline: Red Sox -1.5/Rays +1.5
Starting Pitchers: Chris Sale (3-0, 2.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) vs. Drew Rasmussen (1-0, 3.09 ERA, 1.11 WHIP)
Slamming the Door
The Rays have taken full control of the AL East race in large part because they haven’t given the Red Sox any room to take advantage of any mistakes. Tampa Bay has ripped off nine straight wins while the Red Sox and Yankees have floundered over the past few days, giving the Rays a 10-game lead on the Red Sox with just 30 games to play.
One of the big reasons the Rays have built that lead is their ability to repeatedly handle the Red Sox over the second half of the season. Tampa Bay has won nine of its past 10 matchups against Boston, and the Rays have mostly done it on the runline instead of the moneyline. The Rays have covered the number in seven of their past nine wins against Boston, and the Red Sox have shown no signs of being able to reverse the momentum.
Creating the Breeze
When Chris Sale is at his best, he’s missing bats and keeping runners from reaching base. So far, he’s been at his best ever since his 2021 debut in mid-August, giving up just four runs in 15.1 innings. More importantly, he’s recorded 21 punchouts in that time, showing signs of getting back to his old self.
Against the Rays, Sale’s got a great opportunity to do what he does best, because Tampa Bay takes the new-school analytics of true outcomes to the ultimate extremes. The Rays have gone all-in on the idea of making each at-bat a walk, strikeout or home run, which has led them to more strikeouts than anyone in MLB except for the Cubs, and the Cubs at least have the excuse of having stripped all of their proven major league talent. The Rays haven’t yet been hurt by striking out nearly 10 times per game, which sets up Sale to have a potentially big game on his prop bet.
The Rays have been rolling as of late, and one reason is that anyone they throw out there has found success on the mound. Tampa Bay’s pitching philosophy might not be the most popular around after the World Series fiasco, but the Rays have seen a lot of success with making sure that they never have a pitcher who’s gasping for breath as he tries to wriggle out of a late-inning situation.
With Rasmussen, they’ve chosen to get him at four innings, give or take an out or two, and the results are starting to pay off. Rasmussen has an ERA of just 1.10 in his three most recent trips to the hill, and his ERA has dropped a full run since moving over to the Rays from Milwaukee.
When he takes the ball knowing that he’s not going past five innings, Rasmussen has been able to simply relax and be the pitcher he can be, which has led to him holding his past 10 opponents to either a single run or nothing at all. He’s not the kind of pitcher who will overwhelm you with his stuff, but for 40 to 60 pitches, he’s proven to be an effective option for the Rays to run out there.
- The Red Sox are 4-14 in their past 18 road games.
- The Red Sox are 3-14 in their past 17 against a team with a winning record.
- The Rays are 37-14 in their past 51 overall.
- The Rays are 6-2 in their past eight Wednesday games.
- The over is 6-2 in the Red Sox’s past eight games as a favorite.
- The over is 5-2 in the Red Sox’s past seven games against a right-handed starter..
- The over is 7-1-1 in the Rays’ past nine home games.
- The over is 16-6-1 in the Rays’ past 23 games overall.
- The Red Sox have lost seven straight in Tampa Bay.
- The over is 8-3 in the past 11 meetings in Tampa Bay.
Weather won’t be a factor, as this game will be played indoors.
Sale used to be an automatic fade, but the Red Sox pitcher has come back much stronger and is now a solid option for getting high strikeout totals and keeping opponents off the board. With the Rays striking out more than any AL team, this isn’t a good matchup for Tampa Bay.
I’ll take the Red Sox to finally win one against the Rays here. Note: Be sure to check out our weekly NFL football picks! We’ll be covering every game, every week!