MLB Game Preview: Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox

Jul 6, 2022

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Game: Tampa Bay Rays @ Boston Red Sox

Time: 7:10 p.m. ET

Odds:  Rays +115, Red Sox -135

Total: 9

After getting shutout in the series opener, Tampa Bay responded with an 8-4 victory over Boston last night. It was the Rays’ fourth win in their last five games and it moves Tampa Bay to within a game of the AL East second-place Red Sox. Boston lost for the third time in five games, but there are plenty of reasons for the Rays to fear the Red Sox tonight.

Since mid-May, the Red Sox have been on a tear. They are 10-5 SU in their last 15 games and they have been winning because of their offensive production. Boston ranks in the top-10 in MLB in almost every offensive statistical category – batting average, RBIs, runs, OBP, slugging percentage, OPS, hits, doubles, total bases, and run differential. The Red Sox are No. 6 in average runs per game – 4.72.

That offense will make things difficult for Tampa Bay starting pitcher Corey Kluber. The Rays right-hander is 3-5 with a 3.91 ERA this season. He’s coming off a start against an equally powerful Toronto lineup that got the best of him. Kluber lasted just three innings and allowed five earned runs in a 9-2 loss to the Blue Jays. The Rays have lost three of Kluber’s last four starts with the only win over lowly Pittsburgh.

Kluber will face some of the most productive hitters in baseball tonight. Rafael Devers is third in the majors with a .327 batting average. He also has 17 home runs. Xander Bogaerts is fifth in batting average at .318 and J.D. Martinez is also in the top-15 at .312. From top to bottom, the Red Sox can hit and they play in the hitter-friendly confines of Fenway Park.

Boston will need to produce today to back up starting pitcher Brayan Bello. This will be the major league debut for Bello who has had tremendous success in bouncing between Double-A and Triple-A this season. Bello will get his feet wet against a Rays lineup that is solid but not outstanding. For the season, Tampa Bay scores 4.11 runs per game. That ranks 22nd in MLB, but over their last five games, the Rays are scoring 6.4 runs per game. That includes being shut out in one game.

In addition to winning 10 of their last 15, the Red Sox have won five of their last six games at home. Boston is 21-17 at Fenway Park and 27-17 when playing as the favorite this season. The Rays are below .500 (19-20) in road games this season.

The Over has been trending for Tampa Bay. The total has gone Over in five of their last six games overall and five of their last six games on the road. In 16 of the Rays’ last 20 trips to Fenway Park, the total has gone Over. Surprisingly, the total has gone Under in four of the last five Rays-Red Sox games.