The Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox get started early Thursday afternoon, as David Price makes his fourth start as a member of the Red Sox. Price has bounced around some in the past few years after many years as a Ray. He had stops in Detroit, Toronto, and now in Boston. The Red Sox spent the dollars to get him to come to Boston and we’ll see how well it works out for them. He has had an up and down start to the season thus far, but it would be surprising if he doesn’t get into a serious groove. The Red Sox enter this afternoon with a record of 6-7. They’re hoping Price can be the guy that gets them into the postseason, but there are definite holes in the Red Sox, which isn’t alleviated by just adding Price to the mix. Boston is going to have more issues next year, as David Price sails off and retires after this campaign. Price will get an opportunity to feast off his former team today.
This hasn’t been a competitive matchup in recent memory between the Rays and Red Sox, generally. Although, the Red Sox snapped a four game losing streak over them last night, a big 7-3 victory. Price will get the nod to try and extent to a couple wins in a row. He has had a few starts against his former team and hasn’t been able to keep the ball down. Note that his ERA is 4.26 against the Rays, yet his WHIP against them is 0.89. This will be his fourth start against the Rays this afternoon.
Price is going to be opposite Jake Odorizzi, who is one of the many arms in the Rays’ rotation that is capable of carrying the team on any given day. Stuffing your roster with quality starting pitching doesn’t always work out as well as you would think. The Dodgers had Clayton Kershaw and Greinke on the same team, it didn’t end with a World Series. Or how about the Philadelphia Phillies from years ago? They were stacked and nothing came of it. Now, the Rays aren’t too shabby themselves, albeit, not on the same level as the two teams I just mentioned, but if the Rays’ offense could muster up offense on a consistent basis, they would be a in a great position.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox
Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 2.41 ERA) vs. David Price (2-0, 4.50 ERA)
David Price has loved pitching at Fenway Park over the course of his career. He seemed to shut down the Red Sox lineup every time he stepped on the mound at this cherished ballpark. However, in his first start in a Red Sox uniform, the prior success didn’t translate to anything. He is going to have a lot of time to make that up, though. He responded with a nice start against his former team, allowing only 2 runs over 7 innings. Other than the one start against the Orioles, Price allowed 2 runs each against the Indians and Blue Jays.
The Rays have been absolutely horrid against left-handed pitching. They just haven’t been able to figure it out. On the season thus far, the Rays are hitting .191 against lefties. Price is one of the best left-handers in baseball. Odorizzi has had a so-so career against the Red Sox in eight starts, posting a 3.43 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. The Red Sox have been hitting right-handers at a pretty decent clip of .262. I really fear for the Rays’ offense in this game. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is going to be a vintage David Price start. There is a tremendous amount of value in riding the Red Sox to win this game by at least 2 runs. Look for Price to make quick work of Tampa, as the Red Sox take two in a row at Fenway on Thursday afternoon.
PICK: RED SOX -1.5 (+140)