Our in-house MLB expert, Billy J (-4.26 units), gives his best bet for today!
A new week begins and no one is more happy to get out of Cincinnati than the Tampa Rays. After building some momentum last week in Fenway halfway through their 11-game road trip by winning two of three from the Red Sox, the Rays laid an absolute egg against the Reds this past weekend. The tides of momentum couldn’t have indicated some rough waters ahead when the Rays lost the first game of the series on a walk-off balk. Most are still a bit perplexed by the call and the overall ending of the game. In the end, a loss is a loss and a sweep against a team that far back in the standings certainly slows any kind of momentum in the American League wild card race for the Rays.
The Red Sox on the other hand are flying in late after another come from behind win against their arch nemesis in the New York Yankees. Before Saturday’s contest, the Red Sox had lost four straight games and were certainly in danger of making it five. Even without All-Star starting third baseman Rafael Devers for the final two games of the series, the Red Sox bats would not go down quietly and put up 17 runs in the final two weekend victories to split the four-game series against the Yankees.
The hope for the Red Sox is that Devers is ready to go tonight. It’s wishful thinking and also adds to the multitude of injuries actually for both teams. Reviewing all the Red Sox injuries on the starting pitching front is another article in itself. The good news of course being that Chris Sale is expected to make his 2022 debut tomorrow. For the Rays, they will once again be without Wander Franco (wrist) as he was just put on the 10-day injured list along with starting outfielder Kevin Kiermaier (hip). Pretty amazing to think that both teams lead in the wild card race and have had to overcome all of these recent injuries.
Regardless of injuries, these two teams will clash in their third series of the year and seventh matchup overall. The Rays lead the season series 4-2. On the mound for the home team is Matt Wisler (2-3, 2.58 ERA) who will be the opener and perhaps another inning or so before the Rays switch to left-hander Josh Fleming (2-4, 6.17 ERA). Fleming took the loss on the July 4th matchup between these teams as he went five innings and gave up eight hits and three earned runs. And for the Red Sox, Brayan Bello (0-1, 9.00 ERA) will get his second career start to face the same opponent he did last week. Not an ideal start for Bello as he just went four innings in his debut and only two strikeouts while enduring the loss. For someone that can bring the heat, Bello should have better results in tonight’s matchup.
The Rays are a top ten team in strikeouts and with some injuries in the lineup, Bello could get into a rhythm. Momentum is always something to not bet against. With a dramatic couple of victories over the Yankees this weekend and more momentum on their side for this division rivalry, I’ll go with the young fireballer from the Red Sox to keep it going and pass the baton to Sale tomorrow.
The Pick: Red Sox -113 currently on BetRivers for 1 unit