These two teams have been the cream of the AL crop the past few years (along with the hated Yankees) but this season injuries and sub-par pitching has done in the Boston Red Sox squad -which is now virtually all but eliminated from playoff contention- and win or lose the Rays place in the MLB postseason looks all but booked.
The Red Sox (73-55) started off on a roll this season in the baseball odds competition but injuries quickly caught up with them. MVP Dustin Pedroia has missed almost the entire regular season and just about every major slugger on the team has been on and off the DL throughout the season.
The starting pitching has also been decimated by injuries and even when healthy aces like Josh Beckett and Dice-K have not performed up their usual standards of play.
In short, the Red Sox will not be in the MLB odds playoff action this year and have very little reason to try and close out the season on a winning note other than pride, and a hatred for the Yankees (78-49) and Rays (78-49).
The Sox could be down to their final nine farm league players and still play their guts out against either of these division rivals.
Fans should not expect the superior Rays to walk over this wounded Boston squad by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, this should be the MLB odds game of the night as the teams will be marching two of the best pitchers in the AL to the mound for this 7:10 start.
John Lester (13-8, 3.26 ER), who’s been one of the few Boston bright spots, will take the mound for the visiting Sox. Leading Cy Young contender David Price and ace of the Tampa staff, David Price (15-5, 2.97 ERA) will get the start for the Rays.
That matchup in itself is worth the price of admission and big reason why this MLB odds matchup is worth checking out.
But this first game of three-game series is also vital to the Red Sox playoff hopes, which are technically still alive. 5.5 games is a lot to make up in six weeks but it can be done and if the Sox are somehow able to sweep the Rays at home they’ll be just 2.5 games back in the Wild Card race.
Should be a great game and the Sox just might be able to pull out the win.