The Boston Red Sox are this season’s most surprising team, though on a bad way.
After 19 baseball games, the defending World Series champion has found themselves at the bottom of the AL East standings with a lackluster 6-13 record. The Red Sox lost four of their last five games, including recent back-to-back setbacks at the hands of their bitter rivals, the New York Yankees.
On Friday (7:10 pm EST), Boston is set to begin another tough three-game series with AL East’s No.1 team, the Tampa Bay Rays, at Tropicana Field.
The Tampa Bay Rays are -1.5 run favorite over the Boston Red Sox.
Boston Red Sox Team Preview
The Red Sox have never opened a season this bad since 1996 when they sported a 4-15 record in their first 19 assignments.
After compiling a 17-2 record en route to a World Series title in 2018, it’s easy to say that Boston really fell hard this season.
Even the numbers agree with this notion.
Boston is batting an anemic .229 at the plate with 77 runs, 145 hits, 68 RBIs and 19 home runs. Their pitching is the worst in the majors with a 6.01 ERA and 164 strikeouts. Even more frustrating is, their ace pitcher, Chris Sale, still couldn’t get it right on the mound as he remains winless in four starts with an 8.30 ERA and 14 strikeouts.
Dustin Pedroia, who barely makes an impact for Boston offensively, has been placed on the 10-day injury list on Thursday with irritation in his surgically repaired left knee.
Tampa Bay Rays Team Preview
Nobody expected the Rays to be this good even though they did win 90+ games last season. However, statistics show that their early-season surge isn’t a fluke.
While Tampa Bay’s batting percentage (.266) is not much of an eye-popper, their on-base (3.44) and slugging percentage (.451) indicate that they are getting the job done on offense at an efficient rate.
But the strongest parts in the Rays’ game have been their pitching and fielding. They are the hardest team to hit so far with an overall ERA of 2.50 and the third best fielding team with a fielding percentage of .989.
Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays Betting Pick
The Red Sox have been dreadful on the road, losing 10 of their first 13 games away from Fenway Park. The Rays, on the other hand, only dropped two out of nine assignments at home.
Eduardo Rodriguez will be starting for the Red Sox in Friday’s series opener. After allowing six runs in each of his first two starts, Rodriguez finally delivered a solid game against the Baltimore Orioles last April 11, conceding just two runs with eight strikeouts in 6.2 innings.
Ryne Stanek has been used sparingly in the eight games he played. Though he never pitched beyond two innings, he remains an important part of the Rays pitching rotation that has been steamrolling over the rest of the league.
As much as I want Boston to start playing like a champion again, this game is all about momentum. Right now, momentum is very much on the Rays’ side.
Bet the Tampa Bay Rays -1.5 run favorite over the Boston Red Sox.