The Boston Red Sox were the hottest team in baseball until the end of July when their record went downhill. The team was leading the American League East until they struggled to win a game for the past two weeks. Boston is 65-49 and four games back in the division.
The Rays are surging and in control of the division at 68-44. If Boston has a bad week, Tampa Bay Rays can dim the division title hopes of its rival. Luis Patino will pitch for the Rays against Eduardo Rodriguez in the first of three games from Fenway Park. The first pitch on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.
Tampa Bay is favored on the run line with a money line of +110. Boston is -120
Red Sox Sliding
Even though the Rays are dominating in the division, the storyline is the Red Sox falling apart. The team is having trouble buying a win at this point. On Sunday vs the Blue Jays, bad luck came Boston’s way once again.
The club jumped out to a substantial lead over Toronto on the road. After the fourth inning, the Red Sox had a 7-2 lead. They proceeded to blow the lead and lost 9-8. The Blue Jays did not even need their home half of the ninth inning to seal the deal in the Rogers Centre.
The issue with the Red Sox over the losing streak has been putting all phases of the game together. When the offense shows up, the pitching falls apart and vice versa. However, manager Alex Cora has been positive throughout the losing process.
He believes Boston is still in a strong position in the playoff race heading into three games against Tampa Bay. He is not wrong because if the Red Sox find a way to win at home, this series is back in Boston’s favor. Nevertheless, the pressure is on for the franchise.
After the loss to the Blue Jays, Cora said, “We’re still in a good spot, let’s be honest. It was a tough road trip, but we’ll go home and dominate at home.”
This is the biggest series against the two teams at this point in the season. The Rays can bury the Red Sox with a sweep, but if Boston wants to earn a division title, they must take at least two games.
The pitching matchup is even in the opener. Patino will throw for the Rays. He is 2-3 with a 4.42 ERA over 36.2 innings. Rodriguez will look to give Boston the win on Tuesday. He is 8-6 thanks to a potent Red Sox offense because his ERA is well north of 5.00.
Rodriguez has strong strikeout ability, but he is not reliable. This is not what the Red Sox need heading into their most significant series of the series. Boston’s offense has been much better than the Rays, but it has cooled off as of late.
The Red Sox have scored 94 more runs than Tampa Bay. However, pitching has been the primary issue for Boston. It’s impossible for a team to win if they do not score and the Rays pitching staff has done an excellent job limiting opponent’s scoring.
For the Red Sox to win, they will need to pair up a strong offense and defense. The Rays have a cumulative ERA of 3.59 compared to the Red Sox at 4.27. The Rays have looked strong in winning their past four games.
It’s do-or-die time for the Boston Red Sox. If there is one thing Cora is good at, it’s rallying his team to win.
The Red Sox must win this series. If they come out strong in game one, they will win this series. In game two, Nathan Eovaldi will throw against Ryan Yarbrough. This matchup should be exciting to watch because of the talent on the hill.
Nick Pivetta will pitch for Boston Thursday against Josh Flemming of Tampa Bay. Pitching will be critical the whole week because Boston’s offense has been inconsistent.