Both of these teams have been solid in 2017 and are hoping their run doesn’t end at the end of the regular season. Boston is in much better position and is the favorite to win the division, while the Rays are in a battle to claim a postseason spot.
Tampa Bay has the home field advantage in this one and badly needs to win this game to close the gap on Boston and keep pace in the wild card hunt. There are a lot of ramifications for both sides depending on the outcome of this one.
Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
Date and Time: Wednesday, August 9, 2017, 4 p.m. ET
Location: Tropicana Field
Probable Pitchers: Rick Porcello vs. Jake Odorizzi
Red Sox vs. Rays TV Coverage: ESPN
Porcello is the reigning Cy Young award winner but he has been far from dominant in 2017. The right-hander enters this contest with a 5-14 record and a 4.70 ERA. He has an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio of 132-28 on the season, which portends better results, but he has been hit hard.
Porcello is giving up a batting average against of .291 and needs to induce more soft contact in order to drop his ERA the rest of the way. There are certainly positive signs and Porcello has the ability to turn it around. He hopes to start that in this contest with the Rays, who have a solid offense but not an overpowering one.
Odorizzi is 6-4 with a 4.47 ERA on the year. He is currently on the disabled list with a bad back but has emerged from his rehab starts unscathed and is set to rejoin the rotation. He has a career ERA of 3.85 and now that he’s healthy there is hope that he will improve.
It won’t be easy against a Red Sox that has been good all year and has now added infielder Eduardo Nunez from the Giants and top prospect Rafael Devers. Boston hopes those additions will help it capture the division title over the Rays and the New York Yankees, who are still both within striking distance.
The teams have played 11 times this season, with Tampa Bay thus far emerging victorious in six of them. Boston won three out of four in their first series of the year at Fenway Park in mid-April, but the Rays have done well since then.
Tampa Bay won two of three in Boston in mid-May and then grabbed three of four in a series at home right before the All-Star Break. Odorizzi was beaten by the Red Sox on July 7th.
Tampa Bay will aim to keep up its success at home in this matchup,
Red Sox vs. Rays Picks
Even though they are on the road, the Red Sox are the pick. While neither starting pitcher has pitched to his ability on the season, it is easier to believe in Porcello. He is healthy and has a strong strikeout rate, and seems to be suffering from a spate of bad luck in 2017.
Despite the high ERA, it wouldn’t be a surprise for Porcello to come out and throw a gem in this one. Odorizzi also has good stuff but it’s hard to know how he will look coming off of the disabled list.
Boston has the slight offensive advantage, which is enough to put it over the edge as the winner of this “Sunday Night Baseball” matchup. Compare odds at multiple sportsbooks to see which gives the best Red Sox odds and go with that one.
Red Sox vs. Rays Pick: Parlay the Red Sox with the “under” in this “Wednesday Night Baseball” matchup
Red Sox vs. Rays Score Prediction: Red Sox 5 – Rays 2