Red Sox vs Rays

Red Sox vs Rays | What’s Up With Pitcher Boston Garrett Richards?

Red Sox starting pitcher Garrett Richards had been a very pleasant surprise early in the season, but he has begun to tail off a bit for Boston as he returns to the mound Wednesday against AL East rival Tampa Bay, which is a short favorite on the MLB odds.

How to Bet Red Sox at Rays MLB Odds & TV Info

  • When: Wednesday, 7:10 PM ET
  • Where: Tropicana Field
  • Probable pitchers (away/home): Garrett Richards/Rich Hill
  • TV: MLB Extra Innings

Why Bet on Boston?

During their 3-game sweep of the Rays in April, the Sox recorded a +17 run differential (26-9), batted .339 with a .903 OPS, posted a 2.10 ERA and .194 opponent AVG, committed 0 errors, and allowed 0 HR.

The Red Sox lead the AL in runs scored with 2 outs (156). A total of 43.5% of their runs have been scored with 2 outs. With runners in scoring position and 2 outs, the Sox lead the majors in AVG (.283), SLG (.509), OPS (.880), and HR (tied, 14).

The Sox have placed catcher Kevin Plawecki on the injured list. Plawecki strained his hamstring during Sunday’s game. It’s been a tough season for Plawecki after coming through with a solid campaign in 2020 in the same role. This year, the veteran is hitting .254/.319/.349 while his defense is taking a bit of a hit as well. He also hasn’t gotten a chance to play a ton, accruing only 70 plate appearances.

To take his spot, prospect Connor Wong was called up. Wong, 25, has struggled with a .148/.188/.246 batting line and one homer over 64 plate appearances in Triple-A this year while missing time due to a hamstring injury. Acquired from the Dodgers in the Mookie Betts deal, Wong offers power as well as the ability to play second base and third base.

It’s Garrett Richards (4-4, 4.36) on the mound here. Richards gave up six runs — four earned — and seven hits in four-plus innings last Wednesday against the Braves. He did not factor in the decision. Richards surrendered four earned runs for the second straight outing, but he was rescued from a loss in both instances by Boston’s offense.

Prior to that start, he had gone 5.0+ innings in each of his last 9 starts, his longest streak since doing so in a career-high 27 consecutive outings from 6/11/15-4/25/16. Richards has a 3.53 ERA in his last 71.1 innings (28 ER) after allowing 8 ER in his first 3.0 innings this season and has allowed 3 ER or fewer in 5 of his last 7 starts.

His 74.1 IP is just two innings shy of his most innings thrown in a season since surpassing 200 innings in 2015. He has a 4.36 ERA/4.03 FIP/4.57 xFIP. The biggest disappointment has come from a 19.2% strikeout rate that would be his lowest since 2013.

Richards has not faced the Rays this year. He is very much against MLB’s new rules cracking down on foreign substances.

“As soon as I get to the field every day, I put sunscreen on,” he said, referring to the popular grip agent that’s long been commonly used. “Now I can’t do that. And on top of that, the only thing that’s provided is the rosin bag on the back of the mound, which to be honest with you, is completely useless. It does nothing. It literally, it barely even dries up sweat. It might as well not even be there. I can’t even think how many times over the entire course of my career that I’ve gone to the back of the rosin bag. Sometimes I’ve been on mounds that didn’t even have rosin bags on the back of the mound.”

Why Bet on Tampa Bay?

The Rays went 7-3 against the Red Sox in 2020 (3-3 at home, 4-0 on the road) to win the season series for a second straight season.

Tampa is 3-7 this year in extra-inning games, including a 4-game losing streak in extras since the beginning of June. The Rays’ .300 winning pct. in extra-inning games is the 4th-lowest in the majors. The Rays offense has scored 18 extra-inning runs, tied for 2nd in the majors, but they have been held scoreless in 10 of the club’s 17 trips to the plate despite an automatic runner on second base.

Ahead of Tuesday’s game, the struggling Rays called up the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, 20-year-old shortstop Wander Franco, in hopes of sparking the offense. In 39 games for Triple-A Durham, Franco hit .315/.367/.586 with seven home runs and 35 RBIs. Regarded as one of the best pure hitting prospects in recent decades, Franco has a career minor league average of .332 with more walks than strikeouts. He can also play third and second base.

It’s lefty Rich Hill (5-2) on the mound — Hill is a two-time former Red Sox pitcher, with the lefty revitalizing his career in Boston with a short but phenomenal run with the team in 2015. He’s still kicking around at age 41, and holding his own in Tampa’s rotation. The southpaw was lights out for a stretch of seven starts beginning in early May, pitching to a 0.68 ERA in that run. His last two starts have brought him back to earth a bit.

Hill yielded four runs over five innings last Thursday in a no-decision against the Mariners. Hill surrendered six hits, including two-run homers to Luis Torrens and Ty France. He struck out five batters and only handed out one free pass. He generated only five swinging strikes and finished with a pedestrian 30 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs).

Hill has compiled a 3.64 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 73/24 K/BB ratio across 71 2/3 innings (14 starts) this season but has allowed eight earned runs over the last 9.2 innings and has looked nothing like the pitcher who won AL Pitcher of the Month in May for a 3-1 record and 0.78 ERA in six May starts. Red Sox hitters are slugging .524 against Hill in their careers. Hill, the oldest active pitcher in MLB, hasn’t faced Boston this year.

Game Trends

  • Red Sox are 8-3 in their last 11 during game 2 of a series.
  • Red Sox are 7-3 in their last 10 road games vs. a left-handed starter.
  • Red Sox are 54-25 in their last 79 Wednesday games.
  • Rays are 47-19 in their last 66 vs. American League East.
  • Rays are 14-6 in their last 20 games vs. a right-handed starter.

Expert Prediction

  • Rays 5, Red Sox 4

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