Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox MLB Pick – July 31st

One of the most exciting days on the baseball calendar is finally here, the trade deadline! Many expected this season to have one of the most active trade markets in recent memory as so many teams are in contention. Throw in the fact that MLB got rid of waiver wire trades, and this is the last chance for teams to add pieces or dump salary. You can expect a lot of fireworks today!

Last night we saw a doozy of a deal as the Reds, Indians, and Padres all linked up to send starting pitcher Trevor Baer to the Reds, and slugger’s Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes back to Cleveland. The Padres picked up prospect Taylor Trammell for their part in the deal. It was a bit of a head-scratcher for Cincinnati as the Reds seem to be well out of contention at this point, and Bauer is on an expiring deal at the end of the season.

It did make some sense for Cleveland though as Bauer had become a clubhouse distraction as of late, and they needed some power bats in their lineup and managed to pick up two of them. Starting pitching is what is expected to dominate the market today as many teams have needs on the mound. But with the two biggest names off the board so far, Marcus Stroman and Trevor Bauer, going to teams that are seemingly out of contention, anything could happen today. Buckle up for what should be an exciting ride today! For today’s bet, we will head to Boston, where the Red Sox host the Rays.

The Tampa Bay Rays are in Boston Wednesday for game two of a three-game series with the Red Sox. The Rays took game one last night behind a three-RBI night from Avisail Garcia. The win was the fourth in five games for Tampa Bay, and they are now just a half of a game behind the Oakland Athletics for the second wild-card spot in the American League.

For Boston, they are hoping to tie the series up tonight at home. With the loss last night, the Red Sox are now in third place in the AL East Division, a game and a half back of Tampa Bay and seven games back of the first-place New York Yankees. The loss was their second straight after beating New York in three straight games in their last series.

Starting for the Red Sox is Rick Porcello (9-7 5.55 ERA), and for the Rays, they will go with opener Andrew Kittredge (1-0 3.05 ERA) and then follow him up with Ryan Yarbrough (9-3 3.78 ERA) who is expected to pitch the bulk of the innings. The game total over-under is set at eleven runs. The Red Sox are -142 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Fenway Park in Boston.

You may not like the Tampa Bay Rays use of an opener, but it is hard to argue its effectiveness. The Rays have the second-lowest team ERA in the majors, and the lowest in the American League this season. And when you look at injuries to starting pitchers Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow, they don’t have much of a choice anyway.

Tampa will open with Andrew Kittredge, who has been mostly good this season. In fifteen appearances this year since joining the team in July, he hasn’t allowed any runs in eleven of them. His ERA on the year is a more than respectable 3.05. He pitched one perfect inning against the Red Sox last week.

Ryan Yarbrough is the guy expected to get the most work today, and he has really been heating up as of late. Overall, Yarbrough has been great all season long as he has a 9-3 record with a 3.78 ERA. But in July, he has been nearly untouchable as he is 2-0 with a 1.31 ERA in four games. And this hot streak actually extends back into June as well as in his last three appearances of that month, he tossed twelve innings and allowed just one earned run.

Tampa Bay has won five out of the last six games in which Yarbrough has pitched. Against Boston in early June, Yarbrough threw an absolute gem at Fenway Park. In that one, he pitched seven and two-thirds of an inning and gave up just one earned run on only four hits while striking out seven. Yarbrough has allowed one run or fewer in eight out of his last nine appearances.

Rick Porcello is putting together one of the more surprising seasons of any pitcher in the game this year. He has been, by nearly all accounts, awful on the mound. His ERA is sky-high at over five and a half runs. But that just doesn’t seem to matter much for the Red Sox, as they seem to find a way to win just about every time he pitches.

In July, he is 4-0, with an ERA of 7.54 in four starts. This potent Red Sox lineup has scored double-digit runs of support for Porcello in his last five starts. It’s hard to lose when your team scores ten or more runs every time you pitch. And that has been the trend much of the season as after losing his first three starts of the year, the Red Sox are 13-5 when Porcello starts.

This is a classic strength on strength type of game. Porcello has allowed four runs or more in seven out of his last ten starts. The Rays are going to score runs tonight, you can book that right now. But will Boston continue their tear on offense and win another slugfest with Porcello pitching? Against what has been an elite Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff? I don’t think so.

Yarbrough has been very good, and seemingly getting better as the season wears on. In this, his second season as a big leaguer, he looks to be developing into yet another quality arm for the Rays. All he has to do is not get smashed, and the Rays are going to have a good chance to win this game. And when you look at his game log for the season, he hasn’t had a bad outing since June 2nd, and in that one, he was actually pitching well before getting hammered way late in the game.

I see this game as a little higher scoring than normal, but the streak of Boston scoring ten or more runs for Porcello ends tonight. I see Porcello giving up his usual five or six runs, and Yarbrough finding a way to slow down this Boston offense just a bit. To me, it feels like 7-4 Tampa Bay when all the smoke clears. Give me the Tampa Bay Rays as road underdogs tonight in game two from Fenway Park in Boston!

The Bet: Tampa Bay Rays +132

My Pick
Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL