Game: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
Time: 7:10 p.m. ET
Starting Pitchers: Nick Pivetta vs. Luis Patino
Odds: Red Sox +124, Rays -130
The Boston Red Sox have gone 2-1 in each of their last three series and can gain some ground in the AL East with a four-game set in Tampa to begin the week. The Rays are 9-1 in their last ten games and 19-6 in August. They continue to have the best record in the American League despite not really having a superstar in their lineup. The Red Sox have plenty of superstars, but the best of those have been underperforming as of late.
Boston is just 12-14 in August thus far. One of the big reasons for the slide is that their best hitters have gone cold. Rafael Devers, who is second in the AL in RBIs with 96, is batting just .216 over the past two weeks. J.D. Martinez is even worse over that same stretch hitting .213 and the worst of them all is Xander Bogaerts (.196).
The lone bright spot for the Red Sox is recent acquisition Kyle Schwarber. He missed some time with a hamstring injury, but since making his debut with Boston Schwarber is batting .349 and has two home runs. Boston will need him to continue and the other bats to come alive if they are to have a chance tonight.
Boston will take on Rays right-hander Luis Patino who is 3-3 with a 4.53 ERA this season. Patino is only 21 years old and struggles at times, but his fastball is in the high 90s and his slider is his best pitch. Opposing hitters are batting just .154 against Patino’s slider. Patino won his last start against the White Sox. He pitched six innings and allowed two earned runs while striking out five.
Regardless of how deep Patino goes in tonight’s game, the Rays bullpen will take over at some point. Tampa Bay has the best bullpen in baseball and it’s one of the reasons why the Rays have had so much success over the course of this season.
The Rays lineup is solid and may have a potential superstar in Wander Franco, who is batting .326 over the last month. Randy Arozarena, a 26-year-old rookie, is hitting .348 over the same span and he should give Boston pitcher Nick Pivetta some trouble tonight.
Pivetta started the 2021 season going 6-0 with a 2.81 ERA. His season then took a dramatic turn for the worse. Over his last eight starts, Pivetta’s ERA is 5.73 and he has simply not been in control of his pitches. In six of those eight starts, Pivetta has allowed at least three runs. One of those starts was against Tampa Bay who scored three runs in fewer than five innings. Pivetta’s control issues can be seen in his walk rate of 3.95 per nine innings. If that continues, it will be the highest of Pivetta’s career.
Tampa Bay has the second-best home record in MLB. Boston has played six games at Tropicana Field so far this season. They have won just one of them. Boston’s bullpen, ranked 13th in MLB in ERA for the season, ranks 26th for the month of August with a 5.22 ERA.