Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox Picks
Tampa Bay Rays (62-48) vs. Boston Red Sox (59-50)
When: 7 p.m., Thursday, August 1
Where: Fenway Park, Boston
Moneyline: TB +115/BOS -125 (Intertops)
Runline: Rays +1.5/Red Sox -1.5
Starting Pitchers: Brendan McKay (1-1, 3.72 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) vs. Andrew Cashner (10-5, 4.18 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
Stand Pat Sox
One of the more unpredictable things about the trade deadline is how teams are going to react when a deal is made. That’s not going to be a factor in Boston, however, because the Red Sox opted not to make any moves at the deadline after getting Andrew Cashner from Baltimore. On the one hand, the message in the Boston clubhouse is that the Red Sox believe that they’re good enough to get back to the playoffs as they are (there’s no waiver deadline this year to work around the rule, July 31 means no more trading, period), but on the other, is Boston really good enough to catch the Yankees and Rays? It’s a question that’s going to take some time to answer, and the answer leans toward no given that both New York and Tampa Bay have remained one step ahead of the Red Sox all year long.
Cashner’s Change of Address
So what of Boston’s one real move at the deadline? Well, Cashner has started to pitch like the 4-15 pitcher he was in 2018 as opposed to the 9-3 pitcher he had been for the Orioles in 2019. In other words, this isn’t working out. In three starts with Boston, he’s got an ERA of 6.11, a career-high, and a WHIP of 1.64, just short of his career-high. Those are terrible numbers, and it makes you wonder if Cashner is really happy in Boston and whether he’s going to be of much value to the Red Sox.
The good news for Cashner is that his earned runs have at least trended downward, as he gave up five to the Blue Jays in his first start with Boston before giving up four to the Orioles and three to the Yankees. The bad news is that he gave up a season-high ten hits to the Bronx Bombers while holding New York to three runs, and if the Yankees had taken advantage of their chances, the Sox would have been in deep trouble.
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New Kid In Town
Look at his numbers, and you might be tempted to think that Brendan McKay is a continuation of Tampa Bay’s famed “opener” strategy. However, he’s a genuine starter; he’s simply a rookie making his fifth start in the big leagues. His first four have been inconsistent, as he shut down both Texas and Baltimore but was merely average against the Yankees and got bombed by the White Sox, getting chased back to Triple-A Durham in a 9-2 loss.
The Rays are very high on McKay, whom they took fourth overall in the 2017 draft, but they’re also in a battle for the AL wild card, so it remains to be seen what balance Tampa Bay strikes between getting McKay experience and getting the wins they need to hang on to their wild card spot.
Home cooking, thy name is not either Boston or Tampa Bay. Both teams have a mere one home win of the season against the other, as the road team has dominated this matchup of rivals. The Rays have used fewer home games in part of their efforts to stay ahead of the Red Sox, and their 8-6 record against Boston shows that they’ve been fairly successful at maintaining an edge.
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- The Rays have won five of six against the AL East.
- The Red Sox have won four of their past five against a left-handed starter.
- The Rays have won their past four against a right-handed starter.
- The over is 5-1-1 in the Rays’ past seven games that followed a win.
- The over is 13-3 in the Red Sox’s past 16 against a team with a winning record.
- The under is 7-1 in the Cardinals’ past eight home games against a team above .500.
The temperature should be manageable, as the first pitch is set for cloud coverage on a 76-degree day in Boston.
I don’t really know what to think with McKay, given that he’s been very inconsistent so far in his young career. However, young and inconsistent is better than older and unreliable, which is exactly what Cashner has been since putting on a Boston uniform. The Red Sox are also playing at home, which has not worked out at all in this season’s series. Given that Cashner has to please the Boston fans to give them a reason not to turn on him, and that’s not going to be easy for him to do.
In baseball betting, inconsistency isn’t ideal, but it’s the best option on the table at the moment. I’ll go with the Rays here in hopes that McKay’s lack of familiarity with Boston makes him challenging for the Sox to hit.