Game 3 of the American League Division Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox was a wild one, an extra-innings affair that went 13 innings. The game, unfortunately, will be most remembered for a crazy play in the top of the 13th inning that utilized an obscure rule that might only come into play at Fenway Park before Christian Vazquez swatted a walk-off, two-run home run in the bottom of the inning.
Boston can eliminate American League East champion Tampa Bay in Monday night’s Game 4 of the best-of-five series. Let’s check the latest news, stats, injury reports, and MLB lines for Rays vs Red Sox. We’ve plenty of predictions for you to consider!
Rays vs Red Sox MLB Playoffs 2021 Game 4
This ball hit the wall, then hit Hunter Renfroe, then went over the wall for a ground rule double pic.twitter.com/Ks1foZpAhB
— Ben Brown (@BenBrownPL) October 11, 2021
Looking to take out the top-seeded Rays on Monday night , the Red Sox will have Eduardo Rodríguez on the mound against Tampa Bay’s Collin McHugh. McHugh will likely be the opener for a Rays’ bullpen game, with Michael Wacha and basically Tampa Bay’s entire pitching staff as possible options for later innings.
Rays Pitchers to Turn Things Around
The last two games haven’t exactly been banner days for Tampa Bay, which so heavily prides itself on its pitching. After the Rays were shelled in Game 2’s 14-6 loss, the usually reliable Drew Rasmussen and Pete Fairbanks faltered in Game 3 before impressive but inexperienced rookie Luis Patiño served up the homer to Vazquez.
But, there’s a reason the Rays won 100 games and their pitching staff will bounce back today even with guys like David Robertson and JT Chargois likely unavailable. Andrew Kittredge, Fairbanks and J.P. Feyereisen will probably be called upon for high-leverage innings as some of Kevin Cash’s most trusted guys. The Red Sox can score runs with the best of them, but Tampa Bay usually finds a way to figure things out so the Rays should be able to force a Game 5.
If you’re betting online, go with the Rays to force a deciding fifth game at Tropicana Park.
Rodríguez Keeps Struggling
The Red Sox will hold their breath when they send 13-game winner Rodríguez to the mound on Monday night. The veteran lefty couldn’t get out of the second inning in Game 1 and hasn’t pitched well for much of the season. He gave up two runs (on two hits and two weeks) in Tampa Bay’s 5-0, series-opening win, and the damage could have been a lot worse. He just wasn’t sharp, continuing a trend that carried over from the regular season.
It’s clear that the Rays have a lot of confidence that they can hit Rodríguez, who had a 4.74 ERA after missing the 2020 season with COVID-related myocarditis. Command has not been an issue for him; his main problem has been hits. He’s giving up nearly 10 hits per nine innings and is allowing a .277 opposing batting average (and .766 opposing OPS), which is a career-worst. That’s a concern against the Rays, who were second in baseball in runs scored.
The MLB lines have the Red Sox as favorites today and you should take advantage of being able to take the Rays as underdogs despite them being the better team.
Boston Bullpen Could Be Limited
The Red Sox have a little wiggle room now they have a 2-1 series lead, but manager Alex Cora’s options behind Rodríguez could be limited. Tanner Houck (61 pitches on Friday) and Nick Pivetta (67 pitches) are both certainly unavailable, while Hansel Robles and Ryan Brasier would be pitching on three of the last four days if they went Monday. So, Garrett Whitlock (on no rest), Josh Taylor, Austin Davis and Adam Ottavino could be called upon.
It’s the postseason so rest kind of goes out the door, especially in a potential series-clinching game, but it still could affect Cora’s strategic decisions. Houck and Pivetta have played an enormous role for Boston in this series, yet likely will only be under consideration for a potential Game 5, if that. Other relievers in Boston’s shaky bullpen will have to step up.
If you’re looking at MLB picks, go with the Rays moneyline. This team doesn’t go away quietly and will make things very tough for Rodríguez and Co., even after Sunday’s crazy game.