MLB Baseball: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Sept. 7, 2021

by Big Al Staff

Game time: 7:10 p.m. ET
Venue: Fenway Park, Boston, MA
Where to watch: Bally Sports Sun, NESN

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Rays -115, Red Sox -105
BetMGM: NL
Caesars: NL

Season record (entering Monday)
Rays: 86-51 (1st place, AL East)
Red Sox: 79-60 (3rd place, AL East)

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Rays - Red Sox preview and analysis


Recent form
Rays: 7-3 in last 10
Red Sox: 6-4 in last 10

The Tampa Bay Rays kicked off a nine-game road trip on Monday, first visiting Fenway Park to take on the Boston Red Sox.

Game 2 of this set will be Tuesday.

The Rays, who are atop the American League East with the best record in the AL by a comfortable margin, are coming off winning two of three against the Minnesota Twins and have won 11 of their last 14. In that time, the Rays have batted .264 while averaging 5.7 runs driven in per game.

Tampa Bay appears to be turning to Drew Rasmussen for the start on Tuesday, and the relief-turned-starter has pitched well over his past few appearances. He’s gone at least four innings in four starts since moving to the rotation, allowing only three earned runs on nine combined hits.

Rasmussen has, for the most part, gotten that offensive support when he’s been on the mound. Albeit two of those starts were against the Baltimore Orioles; his last start came Sept. 1 against the Red Sox, getting a no-decision in a 3-2 loss.

Boston has a three-game lead for the second wild-card spot, entering Monday on a 4-4 stretch in its last eight. The Red Sox lost 11-5 to the Cleveland Indians in their series finale on Sunday, but Boston took two of three.

With the Seattle Mariners on their tail, the Red Sox need every win they can get and will need a solid outing from starter Eduardo Rodrigues. Last time out, the Boston pitcher threw six scoreless innings and had six strikeouts in a 4-0 win at Tropicana Field.

Prediction


The Rays have struggled at Fenway Park; their .229 average is the eighth-lowest among parks they’ve visited this season. But while the bulk of their struggles should come against Chris Sale on Monday, Tampa should win Tuesday and keep the momentum going. Rays win 7-4.

Betting trends


The Rays are 44-20 against division opponents this season. They’re also 35-17 (+14.1 net games) when favored between -100 and -150.

The Red Sox are 43-17 (+22.8 net games on the moneyline) when Rodriguez starts the past three seasons.

Players to watch


Rays: Wander Franco continues his historic run. With a triple in the first inning on Monday, he tied Mickey Mantle with reaching on base for the 36th straight game, the longest streak in American League history by a player 20 years old or younger.

Red Sox: Kyle Schwarber has proven a difference-maker since joining Boston. In the last 12 games, the slugging first baseman is batting .306 with four homers and eight RBI.

Projected lineup


Rays:
Randy Arozarena (R) RF
Wander Franco (S) SS
Nelson Cruz (R) DH
Yandy Diaz (R) 3B
Jordan Luplow (R) 1B
Manuel Margot (R) CF
Austin Meadows (L) LF
Francisco Mejia (S) C
Taylor Walls (S) 2B

Red Sox:
Taylor Motter (R) 2B
Kyle Schwarber (L) DH
Hunter Renfroe (R) RF
J.D. Martinez (R) LF
Rafael Devers (L) 3B
Bobby Dalbec (R) 1B
Alex Verdugo (L) CF
Christian Vazquez (R) C
Jonathan Arauz (S) SS

Statistical leaders


Rays:
Batting average: Randy Arozarena (.274)
Hits: Randy Arozarena (124)
Home runs: Brandon Lowe (33)
RBI: Austin Meadows (96)
Stolen bases: Randy Arozarena (13)
Wins: Josh Fleming (10)
Saves: Diego Castillo (14)
ERA: N/A

Red Sox:
Batting average: Xander Bogaerts (.298)
Hits: J.D. Martinez (143)
Home runs: Rafael Devers (33)
RBI: Rafael Devers (100)
Stolen bases: Christian Vazquez (8)
Wins: Eduardo Rodriguez (11)
Saves: Matt Barnes (24)
ERA: Nathan Eovaldi (3.73)

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All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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