The Tampa Bay Rays notched their sixth straight win with Tuesday’s 5-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox, holding on to cash as 127 home favorites. Wednesday’s slate has a duel of southpaws slated between the clubs, with Tampa Bay’s David Price (1-3, 4.78 ERA) facing Boston’s Jon Lester (5-0, 2.73 ERA).
Will the Rays continue their winning streak as short faves or does Lester have value as a dog? Let's breakdown this matchup and decide where bettors should lean with their MLB picks.
Price goes eight at home
David Price was left with a no-decision in Thursday’s 5-4 triumph for Tampa Bay as 150 home ‘chalk’ against the Toronto Blue Jays. The three-time All-Star gave up two earned runs over eight frames, while Tampa Bay’s Luke Scott brought in his side’s winning run with a bases-loaded walk in the 10th inning.
Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar cracked a homer from the lineup’s No. 9 spot, while third baseman Evan Longoria poked two doubles in a 3-for-5 night. Tampa Bay edged out the Blue Jays in hits, 9-8, with reliever Kyle Farnsworth tossing a scoreless final inning for his staff’s win.
The battle’s combined nine runs jumped above the ‘total’ of 7 ½, lifting the OVER to a 4-0-1 mark in Price’s last five starts. Longoria logged his club’s sole error, while Price finished with eight strikeouts.
Lester tosses one-hitter
Lester also saw his last start come against Toronto, going the nine-inning distance in Friday’s 5-0 win for Boston as a 205 home favorite. The 29-year-old gave up one hit and no walks, while logging five strikeouts.
Boston’s Will Middlebrooks and Jarrod Saltalamacchia both notched 2-for-4 nights, uniting for three doubles. Red Sox sluggers David Ortiz and Mike Napoli went a combined 0-for-7, each leaving six men on base.
The contest’s five runs dipped beneath the ‘total’ of 9 ½, moving the UNDER to 2-0 in Lester’s last pair of starts. Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury hit 1-for-5 from the leadoff spot, while mate Daniel Nava drove in two of his side’s runs.
Back the Rays as home ‘chalk’
MLB odds opened Price as a 114 favorite, with initial wagers on Tampa Bay moving the premium to 117. The ‘total’ was first set at seven, leaning to the OVER at minus 120.
I am agreeing with the early ‘steam,’ adding a ticket on the Rays as part of Wednesday’s sports picks.
Tampa Bay is 12-3 in its last 15 home dates against left-handed starters, hitting a stellar .304 against southpaws at Tropicana Field this year. Joe Maddon’s club has a 9-1 mark in its most recent 10 home spots against clubs with winning records, while cashing at 19-7 in its last 26 matchups as a home favorite.
Price and Lester tossed a tight duel in last month’s 2-1 victory for Boston at Fenway Park, but Lester may not fare as well in this rematch. Price faced Boston twice in Tampa Bay last year, holding the Red Sox to five earned runs over 14 2/3 IP. Lester has not made a road start at Tropicana Field since 2011, shelled for four runs on eight hits in that occasion's four-inning stint.
The Red Sox are 0-5 in their last five matchups against southpaw starters, while going 4-11 in their last 15 road games against a listed lefty. Look for Boston to fall short again here, adding another defeat to the team’s 1-6 mark in their last seven outings.Pick: Tampa Bay Rays -117 at Bet365