A Friday night showdown awaits between the Red Sox and Rays as Boston tries to maintain its top spot in the AL East while Tampa Bay is within striking distance of overtaking them during this three-game set. Let’s analyze this divisional matchup and keep cashing our MLB picks!
Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Friday, July 30, 2021 – 7:10 PM ET at Tropicana Field
The Red Sox split a four-game set with the Blue Jays over at Fenway but the AL East leaders can’t be happy about the way the series wrapped after getting smoked, 13-1, on Thursday night. It was a lopsided affair from start to finish as Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. launched a three-run bomb that traveled out of the park and landed somewhere on Lansdowne Street, while Blue Jays’ starter, Hyun Jin Ryu, held the Red Sox to only two hits over six innings of work.
“Every one of his pitches was locating well tonight. He executed greatly tonight — just a lot of weak contact,” Toronto catcher Reese McGuire said. “He did a great job with some quick innings to get the offense back into the dugout.”
By the time Guerrero flexed for three, the game was already getting out of hand as the Jays held a 6-0 lead in the fifth inning before the three-run moonshot. Boston starter, Eduardo Rodríguez, was lit up early and often allowing six runs on seven hits over three-plus innings of work, and Boston’s next two relievers, Phillips Valdez and Brandon Workman fared no better as both subsequently surrendered a combined seven runs.
The Red Sox will be embarking on a 10-game road trip that begins tonight in Tampa and will take them to Detroit before ending in Toronto. But this three-game series at Tropicana Field is the most critical of all as the Rays are breathing fire down the necks of the Sox, only a game and a half removed from first-place.
Boston will send Martin Perez (7-6, 4.18 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 80 strikeouts) to the hill tonight and hope the 30-year-old southpaw can give them at least six productive innings against a potent Rays’ lineup that is currently fifth in runs scored this season. Perez’s last outing saw him toss six innings of three-run, six-hit, baseball in what resulted in a 5-4 victory over the Yankees at Fenway Park on July 25th. Perez enters this game with a 1-2 record and a 4.74 ERA over his four starts during the month of July and will try to improve upon those numbers tonight.
His counter-number will be Josh Fleming (7-5, 4.07 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 44 strikeouts) who has been used as both a starter and reliever this season by the Rays. The 25-year-old righty last saw action on July 23rd when he pitched four innings and allowed three runs on six hits in a 10-5 win over the Indians. It was a relatively solid start compared to his previous outing when the Braves blasted him for seven runs on eight hits in four-plus innings leading to a 9-0 Cleveland victory.
Wanna Make a Bet?
The MLB odds on this matchup show the Rays as -135 home favorites but the vast majority of the best online sportsbooks have yet to release a line at the time of this early Friday morning writing. However, it is not surprising that the Rays would be relatively decent-sized favorites in this game considering they dropped three narrow decisions before they exploded for a 14-0 trouncing of the Yankees on Thursday night.
The pitching matchup is pretty much a wash as both pitchers can be mercurial, to say the least, but the Tampa bats were on fire last night and I can see that carrying over to tonight. Meanwhile, Boston has to be a bit despondent over their 13-1 loss and the bullpen got worked as well so if Perez doesn’t handle his business, then it could be a long night for the Red Sox…again. Lay it and like it with the Rays on Friday night!
Free MLB Pick: Rays -135 at BetMGM