Boston Red Sox (84-63 SU, 77-70 RL, 64-77-6 O/U) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (72-76 SU, 70-78 RL, 73-72-3 O/U)
MLB: Sunday, September 17, 2017, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida, 1:10 pm ET
Lines: Boston -117, Tampa Bay +107; Over/Under: 8.5
It’s the conclusion of a weekend set between a pair of AL East rivals in the Sunshine State. The division leading Boston Red Sox play the final game of a three game series with the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday afternoon. Boston rallied for a 13-6 win in 15 innings in the opening game of the set Friday night. The pitching matchup for Saturday’s middle game of the series saw Rick Porcello take the mound for the Red Sox against Tampa Bay’s Alex Cobb. First pitch in the contest was set for 6:10 pm ET.
Boston Red Sox Try to Close Series on High Note
Boston rallied to tie the game with three runs in the top of the ninth and rode their bullpen until they broke through in the 15th inning. The Red Sox got four hits from Xander Bogaerts (two runs, two RBI) while Mookie Betts (run) and Mitch Moreland (three runs, two RBI) each added three hits in the win. Chris Sale recorded a no-decision as he allowed four runs on six hits with three walks and nine strikeouts over 5.2 innings of work. Brandon Workman (1-1) picked up the win in relief despite allowing a run on one hit with a walk and two strikeouts in one inning of relief. Boston entered Saturday with a three game lead over the Yankees in the AL East.
Eduardo Rodriguez is on the hill for the Red Sox as he takes the ball for the 23rd time this season and logs his 22nd start. He spent six weeks on the disabled list earlier this season with a knee injury suffered in early June. He is 5-5 with a 4.19 ERA, a 1.267 WHIP with 45 walks and 135 strikeouts over 122.1 innings of work. Rodriguez snapped an 11 start winless streak with a win in his last start, which came against the A’s Tuesday. He threw six innings, allowing one run on one hit with four walks and nine strikeouts in an 11-1 Red Sox victory. Rodriguez is 1-1 with a 4.24 ERA, a 1.41 WHIP, seven walks and 21 strikeouts over 17 innings in his last three starts. He makes his fifth career start against the Rays: he is 0-1 with a 7.58 ERA and a 1.842 WHIP over 19 innings of work. Rodriguez is 0-1 with an 11.25 ERA and a 2.125 WHIP over eight innings in his two career starts at Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay Rays Hoping to Make a Move
Tampa Bay let one slip away Friday night and failed to gain ground in the AL wild card race. The Rays entered Saturday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second wild card spot in the American League. Evan Longoria (RBI) and Wilson Ramos (two runs, three RBI) each had three hits for Tampa Bay. Ramos (his eighth and ninth), Adeiny Hechevarria (his sixth) and Kevin Kiermaier (his 14th) each homered in the game. Matt Andriese recorded a no-decision after allowing two runs on five hits with no walks and three strikeouts over 4.1 innings. Austin Pruitt (7-5) took the loss in relief as he allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts over two innings of work.
Jake Odorizzi is slated to make his 26th start of the year in this contest. He hopes to put his injury woes behind him after missing a couple starts earlier in the year. Odorizzi is 8-8 with a 4.52 ERA, a 1.312 WHIP, 56 walks and 108 strikeouts over 127.1 innings of work. He took the loss in his last start, which came Monday in a home contest held at Citi Field against the Yankees thanks to Hurricane Irma. Odorizzi threw 3.2 innings, allowing five runs (one earned) on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts in a 5-1 Tampa Bay loss. He is 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP, seven walks and 14 strikeouts over 15.1 innings in his last three starts. He makes his 17th career start against the Red Sox in this contest: he is 3-5 with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.367 WHIP over 79 innings of work. Odorizzi is 20-19 with a 3.42 ERA and a 1.155 WHIP over 365.1 innings in 64 appearances, 62 starts, at Tropicana Field in his career.
- Red Sox are 4-0 in their last 4 road games vs. a team with a losing record
- Red Sox are 6-1 in their last 7 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30
- Red Sox are 5-1 in their last 6 vs. American League East
- Rays are 1-4 in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning record
- Rays are 1-4 in their last 5 home games
- Rays are 0-6 in their last 6 games vs. a left-handed starter
Tampa Bay is reeling and finds itself in a situation where they could wind up knocked out of the playoff picture for all intents and purposes. The Rays blew a prime chance to gain some ground Friday night as they let a three run lead slip away in the ninth. Tampa Bay’s bats couldn’t cash in late and it proved costly. Boston is still holding the lead in the AL East and Rodriguez is coming off a victory in his last outing. Look for Boston to pick up the win and bury the Rays even further, potentially finishing their shot at the postseason.
Pick: Boston Red Sox -117
Boston could use their win Friday as a springboard for the final couple weeks of the season. The Red Sox seemed doomed to be defeated after mustering just two runs in the first eight innings. Instead, they rallied to force extra innings, survived letting a lead slip away once and then buried Tampa Bay in the 15th inning. The Rays don’t have much time to pick themselves off the mat and come back swinging as they are simply running out of games. Tampa Bay has missed too many opportunities this season and those blown chances are coming back to haunt them now.
The under is 9-1 in the Red Sox’s last 10 Sunday games, 4-0-1 in Rodriguez’s last 5 starts during game 3 of a series, 6-1 in Rodriguez’s last 7 starts vs. a team with a losing record, 4-1 in Rodriguez’s last 5 road starts vs. a team with a losing record and 20-6-1 in Rodriguez’s last 27 starts vs. American League East foes. Tampa Bay has seen the under go 7-0 in their last 7 Sunday games, 4-1 in their last 5 overall and 4-1 in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning record. It’s important to note that Friday’s game was poised to stay under the total before Boston’s rally in the ninth plus the outburst in extra innings: this one will hold the line just short of the total.