Rays vs. Red Sox

Rays vs. Red Sox | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis

Written by on April 5, 2021

Arguably no team has looked worse early this baseball season than the winless Red Sox as they were swept by a bad Orioles team at Fenway Park over the weekend. Boston looks for that first win Monday against the AL East rival and visiting Tampa Bay Rays, who are slight favorites on the MLB odds.

How to Bet Rays at Red Sox MLB Odds & TV Info
  • When: Monday, 7:10 PM ET
  • Where: Fenway Park
  • Probable pitchers (away/home): Michael Wacha/Nick Pivetta
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream/gameday audio: ESPN app
  • Opening MLB Lines: Rays -117, Red Sox +107 (total 9.5)
Last Season

Tampa Bay won seven of 10 against Boston last season and took all four in Boston by an average score of 5.5-0.5. In fact, the Rays have won eight straight games at Fenway, the longest winning streak at an opponent’s park in franchise history. Since July 24, 2019, the Rays are 14-4 against them with a +38 run differential.

Why Bet on Tampa Bay?

The Rays had a rare Sunday off and won two of three in Miami to open the season. Joey Wendle went 2-for-4 with an RBI single, a double and a run in Saturday’s loss. Saturday’s first multi-hit effort of the season followed a game-winning three-run home run Friday in his 2021 debut.

Manuel Margot also has been raking in the early going. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI single and a run Saturday. The veteran outfielder’s fifth-inning RBI single ignited a four-run frame for the Rays. Margot’s second straight multi-hit effort makes him 4-for-8 with a triple and a solo home run since going 0-for-2 on Opening Day.

It’s new Rays right-hander Michael Wacha on the hill here. He was signed this offseason on a one-year free agent deal. Wacha, is an eight-year veteran of the St. Louis Cardinals (2013-19) and New York Mets (2020) and owns a career 60-43 record with a 4.01 ERA (901.2-IP, 402-ER) in 173 appearances (158 starts).

In 2020, Wacha made eight appearances (seven starts) for the Mets and went 1-4 with a 6.62 ERA (34-IP, 25-ER) and a career-high 9.79 strikeouts per nine innings ratio. His swing-and-miss rate of 11.3 pct. was his highest since 2013 (11.4) and he generated swings on a career-high 34.3 pct. of pitches outside the strike zone.

Coming off a strong spring, Wacha will make his Rays debut in Boston. He has only faced the Red Sox once in his regular-season career, in his Mets debut on July 27, 2020 at Fenway Park. His only run allowed in five innings pitched came on a 2-out solo homer by Mitch Moreland in the 4th inning. Moreland is no longer with Boston. Wacha did pitch at Fenway Park twice in the 2013 World Series, winning Game 2 and losing Game 6.

Since the start of the 2020 season, the Rays are 29-1 when leading after 6 innings, 25-0 when leading after 7 innings and 32-0 when leading after 8 innings.

Why Bet on Boston?

The Red Sox (0-3) were 11-3 home losers to the Orioles on Sunday. Trey Mancini and Austin Hays hit two-run doubles during a seven-run third inning that carried the Orioles to the win. It was Baltimore’s firs three-game sweep at Fenway since Aug. 25-27, 2017. The Orioles held the Red Sox to five total runs in the series.

“We got beat in every aspect of the game,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “We’re off to a rough start.”

The Sox have started 0-3 at home for the second time in franchise history. The Red Sox lost their first four home games in 1948, rebounded to tie Cleveland at 96-58 after the scheduled 154-game regular season and lost a tiebreaker playoff 8-3 at Fenway.

About the only bright spot in the series was DH JD Martinez. He went 2-for-4 with a solo homer and two RBI on Sunday. Martinez supplied virtually all of the Red Sox’ offensive output in the three-game series sweep. The 33-year-old veteran slugger belted a solo homer off Orioles’ lefty Bruce Zimmerman in the fourth inning and also drilled an RBI double in the sixth inning. He finished the season-opening series with six hits in 12 plate appearances.

It’s Nick Pivetta on the mound here. Pivetta, who has spent most of his career in the National League, has never faced the Rays. Pivetta thrived in his only start at Fenway last season, holding the Orioles to one run over five innings.

Pivetta was acquired by the Red Sox in a trade with the Phillies on 8/21/20. He went 2-0 in his 2 starts with Boston last season and allowed 2 ER in 10.0 IP (1.80 ERA) with 13 SO and held opponents to a .216 AVG. In both starts with the Red Sox, he gave up a run in the 1st inning then held his opponent scoreless in the next 4.0 innings. He is the first Canadian-born Red Sox pitcher since Ryan Dempster (2013).

Game Trends
  • Rays are 19-7 in the last 26 meetings.
  • Over is 12-3-2 in the last 17 meetings.
  • Rays are 13-3 in the last 16 meetings in Boston.
  • Over is 6-0-1 in the last 7 meetings in Boston.

Expert MLB Prediction

Rays 5, Red Sox 4


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