Rays vs. Red Sox Game 3
By: Willie Bee
A lot of Boston Red Sox fans are going to have to adjust their Thursday work schedules if they want a Dustin Pedroia bobblehead. That's because Game 2 vs. Tampa Bay -- when the giveaways were to be handed out -- was rained out, leaving the Sox and Rays with trying to make it up Thursday as part of a doubleheader.
Tampa's and Boston's MLB.com sites are both reporting no change in their rotations with Wednesday's starters Chris Archer and Felix Doubront scheduled to go head-to-head in the opener (1:05 PM ET). Plans are to begin Thursday's regularly-scheduled game at 7:10 PM, and we'll see Cesar Ramos vs. Jake Peavy for our bump battle in that one.
I'm not so sure I still like the Red Sox as much in Thursday's matinee as I did on Wednesday, in part because a rainout can often help break the spell of bad mojo for the team struggling the most, which is the Rays. It's a fact and not just a flashback to a scene in Bull Durham, one of the top 3-15 baseball movies of all-time
However, I'm still standing behind my pick (Boston -110) as long as a similar moneyline is eventually available.
Peavy, Sox Open -140
Chalk For Nightcap
The second game of this twinbill was sent out with Boston backers paying $1.40 on the initial overnight mark. First glance at SBR's live MLB odds revealed an 8.5 scoreboard tally leaning pretty strong to the high side.
Ramos' baptism by fire into the rotation continues. This will his seventh career start -- No. 4 of '14 -- and first-ever at Fenway Park after facing the Reds in Cincy, home against the Yankees on Easter and at the White Sox this past Saturday. The Long Beach State star has done fine considering his pitch limit the last two starts (10 IP, 1 ER), could be stretched out to 75 Thursday and has enjoyed success against Boston as a reliever.
Peavy has but one hiccup this season, and the Red Sox won that game to leave Boston 3-2 in his five April assignments. A bit of wildness and proclivity for serving up a long ball at the wrong moment against the Rays has been an issue, but Peavy has held Tampa hitters to below the Mendoza line and owns a 3.60 ERA his last three against them.
Will Rain Let Up Get Just
1 Game In Thursday?
A little more than 18 hours in advance of Game 1 on Thursday, there's a 30%-40% chance of rain. The good news is it's supposed to clear out after that, so there's is a good shot to get two games in to wrap this series up.
Terry Francona should have a full bullpen at this disposal, and Mother Nature allowed Joe Maddon to rest his relievers, which I'm certain he can find something Zen in that happenstance.
I'm enjoying the contrarian's view on the total, with my free MLB pick on a lower-scoring game than expected breaking out in the Fens.
My pick: Rays-Red Sox Under 8.5 (+105)
Rays vs. Red Sox Game 2
By: Willie Bee
Entrusted with a 5-run lead over the Tampa Bay Rays and only needing three outs to secure victory Tuesday, Boston Red Sox reliever Edward Mujica couldn't close the deal. It left some Red Sox fans unhappy with Mujica's performance, but those of us who wagered the 'over' were very pleased.
Boston would eventually grab the dubya in the series opener against Tampa Bay, and the Red Sox now try to finish the month of April off at .500 when the clubs collide Wednesday at Fenway Park. ESPN's broadcast of the matchup begins at 7 PM (ET), and the initial mound battle is between Chris Archer and Felix Doubront.
The contest has settled in around a pick 'em according to SBR's live MLB odds, some shops slightly favoring the home team. An 8.5 run total once again leans to the high side.
Rays Relievers Banged
Around In 5-Run Boston
While Mujica's struggles out of the Red Sox bullpen continue, it was a pair of Tampa Bay relievers who proved the real difference in Boston's 7-4 win. Brandon Gomes and Juan Carlos Oviedo were the arms on the hill when the Sox broke the game open with a 5-run sixth inning, three doubles doing most of the damage.
Archer has been a bit inconsistent during April, nothing unexpected for a 25-year-old hurler in his first full season at the big league level. In his three starts the Rays have won, Archer combined for nearly 20 frames and only three runs crossing the plate; in the two losses, the righthander totaled 11 IP with 11 runs allowed.
The good news is Archer has served up only one long ball while walking just five so far as he prepares for his fourth career start vs. the Sox, and second at Fenway Park. Both he and the Rays are 1-2 in his three previous appearances against Boston, and Daniel Nava owns the only homer in this lineup.
How Long Will
Doubront Remain In Red Sox Rotation?
Doubront was no mystery to Yankee hitters last Thursday in Boston, failing to make it out of the third inning charged with seven runs (3 earned). That marked his second loss to New York this year, and the only two starts he has made which ended in Red Sox victories came against the Orioles.
The southpaw has performed pretty well over the years vs. Tampa Bay, making eight starts and three relief appearances while pitching to a 3.24 ERA. The Red Sox were 2-2 in his four 2013 assignments, Doubront posting a 2.55 ERA in those 24+ frames.
Rain is in the forecast again, but an even darker cloud for this game will be behind the dish where CB Bucknor is slated to call balls and strikes. Home teams have dropped four of his five previous plate assignments in 2014, and home favorites are 11-15 going back to 2013.
I have no faith in Doubront, but even less faith in the entire Tampa Bay team at this time. Let's bite the bullet with a small play on Boston for our free baseball pick.
My Pick: Red Sox -110
Season: 27-28 (-1.9)
Rays vs. Red Sox Game 1
By: Willie Bee
Previous meetings between the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox have been known to get testy. With the squads stuck at the bottom of the AL East standings and in need of jumpstarting their seasons soon, we don't expect this week's matchups in Beantown to be any less intense.
The AL East rivals open the set Tuesday night (7:10 PM ET) with a couple of veteran arms on the mound at Fenway Park. Tampa Bay is sending Erik Bedard to the hill in the opener opposite Boston's John Lackey, and the Red Sox are around -160 after opening a bit lower on the moneyline. We're seeing a 9 run total for the game, SBR's live MLB odds showing a price hike on the high side.
Boston commands this series with a 162-116 all-time mark. Tampa Bay won or tied the season series from 2008-12 before the Red Sox took 12 of 19 regular season encounters a year ago, winning six of 10 played at Fenway Park. Boston also won three of four from the Rays during the ALDS, both playoff games in Beantown skipping past the total after all 10 regular season matchups cashed for 'under' bettors.
Rays' Long Trip Gets
Off To Bad Start In Chicago
Tampa Bay (11-15, -8.1 units, 15-10-1 O/U/P) began a 10-game road trip by dropping three of four to the White Sox. The Rays have fallen into the AL East cellar with six setbacks in their last eight after reaching .500 with a pair of wins at home vs. the Yankees over Easter weekend.
Still looking for his first win with the Rays, the eighth jersey Bedard has worn since beginning his MLB career with the Orioles in 2002, the Canadian southpaw might settle for just lasting 5+ innings in what will be his third start of 2014. Bedard burned through 90 tosses last Thursday at home vs. the Twins, only making it through the fourth frame while walking five Minnesota batters in an eventual 9-7 Rays setback.
Bedard has made just one start the last three campaigns against the Red Sox, and it was an ugly outing while toiling for the Astros in 2013 (3 IP, 3 HR, 5 ER). Boston is 6-3 against left-handed starters this season.
Sox Back Home After
Quick Trip To Toronto
Boston (12-14, -5.8 units, 10-16 O/U) missed a chance to pull of its first sweep of the season Sunday in Toronto, dropping the finale of that series as Jon Lester suffered his second consecutive rough outing. The Red Sox had won three of their previous four before the 7-1 loss to the Blue Jays, and will host the A's this weekend before entertaining the Reds for a couple of contests next week.
Lackey cinched up his belt last Wednesday to stop a 2-game skid with a dominant performance against the Yankees in a 5-1 win. The righthander had been pounded in his two previous starts, allowing six runs and 10 hits in each assignment vs. the Yanks and O's.
The Tampa Bay lineup has given Lackey trouble since he joined the Red Sox in 2010. Boston has managed to split his 10 starts against the Rays, including a win in Game 2 of last October's ALDS, but even that win wasn't easy (5.1 IP, 4 ER) and Lackey has a 6.70 ERA vs. Tampa while wearing a Sox jersey.
It isn't going to be a great evening in Boston as far as the weather goes, but the good news is rain is not expected to get in the way. The thermometer is going to stay in the mid-40s most of Tuesday, with a good breeze from the NE (in from right-center). The chance for rain increases the next couple of days, something we'll keep an eye on when previewing Games 2 and 3.
There has been a rash of 'overs' at Fenway with six of the last eight on this diamond going past the total, and Ray's pitchers have been giving up a lot of runs lately. I'll hop on that trend with my free MLB pick on the high side of the scoreboard hurdle.
My Pick: Rays-Red Sox Over 9 (-115)
Season: 26-27 (-1.9)