The Boston Red Sox are in Tampa Bay tonight for game one of a three game series with the Rays. While this matchup looks like it could have some playoff implications for both teams, in reality, it is a bit of a meaningless game. The Rays are now 5.5 games back of even the second wild card spot in the American League, and it would take them running the table to have a shot, and even then, they probably have too many teams to jump. The Red Sox seemed poised to take a run at the number one overall seed in the American League, and then Houston got healthy, and Cleveland forgot how to lose, and now the Sox are almost for sure slotted in as the third seed in the AL playoffs.
Boston Red Sox -125 at Tampa Bay Rays +105
Matt Andriese (5-3 4.46 ERA) vs Chris Sale (16-7 2.76 ERA)
Chris Sale had the Cy Young award all but locked up at the All-Star break. He was having what many were seeing as a historic year in his first season with the Red Sox. Then he ran into the Cleveland Indians and their high-octane offense and that Cy Young award started slipping out of his grasp. In his two starts against the Indians, Sale pitched a total of eight innings in two starts and gave up fourteen runs. It was a really rough patch for the star pitcher. Sale hasn’t given up that many runs in his last twelve starts that aren’t against Cleveland, they just have the guy’s number this year. The good news tonight for Red Sox fans? They aren’t playing the Indians, they are playing the noodle batted Tampa Bay Rays.
Against Tampa Bay this season, Sale has been elite. He faced these same Rays last week in his last start on September 9th and went six smooth innings, giving up no runs and striking out eight in a Red Sox 9-0 win. In his five starts against the Rays this year, Sale has gone 35 innings, giving up only a total of eight runs and striking out 57! In his last two starts, he has been especially tough on Ray’s hitters as he has gone fourteen shutout innings. He is just too much for this Tampa Bay offense and has been all year.
The Rays will counter with Matt Andriese to try and keep alive what slim playoff hopes they have left. Andriese has bounced back and forth this season between the Rays starting rotation and bullpen and hasn’t had a winning decision since May. In his last start against Boston, he got run off the field with quickness as he got pelted for eight runs in just 1.2 innings. Andriese has been serviceable in any role the Rays have put him in but facing off against this powerful Red Sox offense is going to be a tough task today.
They played this identical matchup last week. Red Sox vs. Rays, Sale vs. Andriese, on September 9th, the outcome? Boston blew them out of the water 9-0. Sale was great, Andriese got rocked, and the Red Sox coasted to another easy victory. I have no reason to believe anything has changed over the last week to make me not absolutely love the Red Sox in the is one. The Sox are offering some great value as they are only -110 on the run line tonight in a matchup that screams blowout. I just can’t pass up on the favorites in this one tonight. Sale is amazing against every team not named the Indians this season, and especially great against the Rays. You can slot Sale in for 7-8 innings of one run or less ball with double digit strike outs. The Rays just don’t have the firepower to compete in this one. It wouldn’t shock me to see Andriese get run from this game early and I expect another blowout tonight from St. Pete. Give me the Red Sox on the run line tonight!
Today’s Pick: RED SOX -1.5 RUNS AT -110