Are the Tampa Bay Rays the best team in the American League? It sure looks that way as the Rays are steamrolling their way to the AL East title. They open a series against last-place Boston on Thursday.
How to Bet Red Sox at Rays MLB Odds & TV Info
- When: Thursday, 6:40 PM ET
- Where: Tropicana Field
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Zack Godley/Josh Fleming
- TV: MLB Extra Innings, MLB Network (out of market)
- Stream/gameday audio: https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
- Opening MLB Lines: TBA
It looks like the season for once-promising outfielder Andrew Benintendi is over as he has been transferred from the 10-day injured list to the 45-day injured list. Benintendi would technically be eligible to return for the last week of the season, but Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke all but said that they are shutting him down for the year.
It was a lost season for the 26-year-old. At the time of his injury, he led the Red Sox and ranked tied for sixth in the American League in walks (11). Benintendi started 12 of Boston’s first 17 games, all in left field, and batted leadoff eight times. On the season, he is 4-for-39 (.103) with a .314 on-base percentage.
Boston had had a decent offense this year but the pitching staff has been atrocious. In games in which Boston has scored five or more runs, they have 12 wins. They also have nine losses in which they’ve scored five or more runs. With runners in scoring position, Sox hitters rank 4th in the AL in AVG (.264). With 2 outs, they rank 2nd in the AL with a .270 AVG and an .803 OPS.
Thirteen different pitchers have started a game for the Red Sox this season, most in the majors. Seven pitchers have made multiple starts: Martín Pérez (8), Zack Godley (7), Nathan Eovaldi (6), Ryan Weber (5), Colten Brewer (4), Kyle Hart (3), and Chris Mazza (3). The Red Sox have used 24 pitchers in relief this season, most in the AL.
It’s scheduled to be Godley (0-4) starting Thursday. Godley gave up four runs over three innings in his start last Friday in the first game of a doubleheader against the Blue Jays. After getting through the first inning, Godley gave up a solo homer to Travis Shaw and a two-run blast to Danny Jansen to ruin any chance of this being an effective outing. The right-hander has been awful as a starter for Boston this year with an 8.31 ERA. The Sox doesn’t have an arm to replace him, so he’s expected to make his next start Thursday.
Godley was acquired by the Red Sox late in spring training after he was released by the Detroit Tigers. In his Major League career, Godley has also pitched for the Blue Jays and the Arizona Diamondbacks.Why Bet on Tampa Bay?
This is the fourth season the Rays have built a lead as large as 5.5 games in the AL East, and they won the division in two of the previous three (2008, 2010) and clinched a Wild Card spot in the other (2019).
The Rays swept four games in Boston from Aug. 10-13. They scored at least eight runs in every game of the series. “The whole series, the guys were tremendous,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “That’s not an easy thing to do, to sweep a team like the Red Sox.”
In early January when the Rays traded one of their top pitching prospects in Matthew Liberatore, along with minor league catcher Edgardo Rodriguez and a 2020 supplemental second-round pick to the St. Louis Cardinals for first baseman/outfielder Jose Martinez and outfielder Randy Arozarena (and a supplemental first-round pick), many initially questioned why. Martinez already has been traded again, but Arozarena has been terrific of late as the Rays pull away in the AL East.
Arozarena tested positive for COVID-19 at the start of summer camp. It took an entire month for him to receive the required negative test result to resume baseball activities, placing him significantly behind in terms of being game ready. Cash recently called him a “spark” with the “ability to do some special things for us.”
It’s scheduled to be Josh Fleming (3-0) on the mound here. Last Friday, Fleming beat the Marlins by limiting them to four runs on seven hits over his five innings of work. Fleming struck out two and didn’t walk a batter. While he wasn’t as dominant as he was in his first two starts, Fleming still did enough to eke out a victory in this one. He surrendered solo homers to Corey Dickerson and Jesus Aguilar in the third and fourth innings, then another pair on a two-run double by Jon Berti in the fifth.
A fifth-round pick in 2017, Fleming only throws around 90 mph with his fastball and never cracked 7.0 K/9 at any stop in the minors. All that contact leaves the door open for some blowups, but Fleming is enjoying a lot of success through three big-league starts. Fleming hasn’t faced Boston.Expert PredictionRays 6, Red Sox 4
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