Game Time: 7:02 pm ET, Friday, October 8, 2021
Venue: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
Where to Watch: Fox Sports 1
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Moneyline odds: Red Sox +100, Rays -120; Over/Under: 7 runs
Bet365: Moneyline odds: Red Sox NL, Rays NL; Over/Under: NL runs
BetMGM: Moneyline odds: Red Sox +135, Rays -165; Over/Under: 7.5 runs
Boston Red Sox: 92-70 (3rd place, AL East)
Tampa Bay Rays: 100-62 (1st place, AL East)
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Boston Red Sox vs Tampa Bay Rays Preview and Analysis
Boston Red Sox: 5-5 last 10
Tampa Bay Rays: 7-3 last 10
Boston Red Sox Analysis
The Red Sox are going into this game after beating out the New York Yankees on Tuesday night 6-2 in the AL Wild Card game at Fenway Park. The Red Sox are now on a 4 game winning streak and have won 5 of their last 6 games with the series opener for this ALDS still to be played on Thursday, the result is pending for that game. This will be the 2nd game of a best-of-five series for the ALDS. Eduardo Rodriguez was given the nod in game 1 on Thursday so Chris Sale will be the starting pitcher on the mound in this game on Friday. Sale is 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA this season. He has only pitched in a few games this year due to an injury but he has been playing in games since early August and all of September. He was credited with a loss in his last game where there was a decision but his team has actually won 3 of their last 4 with him on the mound. In his last start, he allowed 2 earned runs and 3 BB with 7 Ks on 4 hits through 2.1 IP against the Washington Nationals last Sunday. He has faced the Rays lineup twice this season and both times there was a no-decision but his team is 1-1 in those games as he did not allow more than 2 runs in either game. He has not played in a postseason game since back in 2018 but he won 4 of his 5 starts that year only allowing more than 2 runs in one of those games. He has never faced the Rays in the postseason before. Their offense has scored 22 runs in their last 4 games averaging over 5 runs scored per game in that span and they have allowed their opponents to score 12 runs against them in that same span allowing 3 runs per game.
Tampa Bay Rays Analysis
The Rays are coming into this game after a few days of rest as they won their American League East division title and did not have to play in a Wild Card game. They lost their last game of the regular season, their series finale against the Yankees, but they have won 2 of their last 3 games, taking the other 2 games in that series against the Yankees. Their first game in this ALDS on Thursday night is still to be played with that result pending but this will be the 2nd game of the ALDS on Friday in a best-of-five series against the Red Sox. Shane McClanahan was the starter in game 1 of this series on Thursday so Shane Baz will be throwing the first pitch for them in this game on Friday. He is 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA this season and he is a rookie pitcher who has only played in 3 games in his career. He has been doing well only allowing 3 runs in his 3 starts but all 3 of those runs were solo homers. In his last start, he allowed 1 ER, it being a HR, and 2 BB with 4 strikeouts on 1 hit through 2.2 innings of work against the New York Yankees last Saturday. He has never faced the Red Sox lineup in his career and this will be his first ever appearance in the postseason. Their offense has scored 16 runs in their last 3 games averaging over 5 runs scored per game in that span and they have allowed their opponents to score 6 runs against them in that same span allowing 2 runs per game.
Red Sox vs Rays Prediction
Game 1 of this series is still pending but the Red Sox have still come into the playoffs as the hotter team. The Rays may have a much better bullpen and pitching staff in general but once again they have gone with the rookie pitcher in this important playoff game. The Red Sox have a lot of experienced batters on their team and still have players that won the World Series with them a few years ago. The Rays had a very good playoff run last year but they still do not have as much playoff experience as the Red Sox on their roster. Chris Sale is the better pitcher and has more experience in the playoffs and in the league in that matchup. There is no reason why the Red Sox cannot win this game so the best bet to place in this game is on the Red Sox to win at the underdog price.
Red Sox Rays Prediction: Our MLB Pick for Friday, October 8, 2021 (7:02 pm ET start time) is Red Sox 3 Rays 1.
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MLB Betting Trends
Boston Red Sox: 93-70 (+11.4 units) on the money line in all games. 28-25 (+11.1 units) on the money line as an underdog of +100 or higher. 43-38 (+5.1 units) on the money line in road games.
Tampa Bay Rays: 52-39 O/U as a favorite of -110 or higher. 83-70 O/U in all games. 53-44 O/U when the total is 7 to 8.5. 40-32 O/U against division opponents.
Boston Red Sox: J. Martinez (RF) Ques Thurs - Ankle injury. P. Valdez (RP) Out indefinitely - Illness. J. Taylor (RP) Out indefinitely - Back injury.
Tampa Bay Rays: T. Hunter (RP) Mid Oct - Back injury. N. Anderson (RP) Mid Oct - Back injury. A. Conley (RP) Out indefinitely - Illness.
Players to Watch
Boston Red Sox: Xander Bogaerts is one player to watch in this matchup. He leads his team in batting average this year and he is a big reason why they are even in this series at all. He has been putting in work all year and he hit a big home run in the first inning of the Wild Card game to help send them here. Look for him to keep playing well in the playoffs.
Tampa Bay Rays: Randy Arozarena is one player to watch in this contest. He leads his team in hits and stolen bases and he had a great year last season really exploding in the playoffs for the Rays. He is a dangerous hitter and a dangerous baserunner so look for him to make a big impact for his team in this game.
"Now we go to the next one, and we've just got to be ready to face a great baseball team. Coming into the season, everybody talked about them being the best team in the big leagues, and we have a huge challenge. But we're ready for it." - Alex Cora on facing the Rays after beating the Yankees in the Wild Card game.
"Very big. Pretty special. So proud of the guys, happy for them — 100 sounds better than 99." - Kevin Cash after the Rays beat the Yankees to get their 100th win of the season.
Boston Red Sox
Kyle Schwarber DH
E. Hernandez CF
Rafael Devers 3B
X. Bogaerts SS
A. Verdugo LF
H. Renfroe RF
K. Plawecki C
B. Dalbec 1B
C. Arroyo 2B
Tampa Bay Rays
B. Lowe 2B
R. Arozarena RF
W. Franco SS
N. Cruz DH
A. Meadows LF
J. Choi 1B
M. Zunino C
J. Wendle 3B
K. Kiermaier CF
Boston Red Sox
Batting Average: X. Bogaerts (.295)
Hits: R. Devers (166)
Home Runs: R. Devers (38)
RBI: R. Devers (115)
Stolen Bases: C. Vazquez (8)
Wins: E. Rodriguez (13)
Saves: M. Barnes (24)
ERA: R. Brasier (1.50)
Tampa Bay Rays
Batting Average: W. Franco (.288)
Hits: Randy Arozarena (145)
Home Runs: Brandon Lowe (39)
RBI: Austin Meadows (106)
Stolen Bases: Randy Arozarena (20)
Wins: S. McClanahan (10)
Saves: Andrew Kittredge (8)
ERA: C. McHugh (1.55)
Boston Red Sox: Alex Cora (3rd season, non-consecutive)
Tampa Bay Rays: Kevin Cash (7th season)
79 degrees F scattered thunderstorms, 73% humidity, 30% chance of rain, up to 2 mph wind speeds E.