The Tampa Bay Rays are going for a four-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night. After outscoring Boston 17-8 over the first three games of the series, Tampa is favored at home with a -130 moneyline on Thursday, while Boston’s moneyline is set at +110. The game also has an over/under of 7.5 runs.
With Tampa’s three wins in this series, the Rays have moved into second place in the AL East. After getting swept by the Rays over the weekend, the Rays were in need of some positive momentum. Of course, they are 8-5 in July, including a 5-1 record in head-to-head games against the Red Sox.
Boston, meanwhile, is in the midst of a nose dive since the calendar flipped to July. The Red Sox are now 4-9 in July, spoiling a strong month of June. The good news is that they are still five games over .500, putting them in a three-way tie for the final two Wild Card spots in the American League.
Just Filling In
The Red Sox have a slew of starting pitchers on the IL right now, forcing rookie Kutter Crawford to make a spot start. In three starts and nine relief appearances this season, Crawford is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA. However, he’s been excellent during his two July appearances, giving up just one run on six hits while striking out 14 over 10.1 innings of work.
On the other hand, the Boston lineup has cooled off during this series, scoring just three total runs over the last two days. There have been a few weaknesses for the Red Sox all season, forcing them to rely on the trio of Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and J.D. Martinez, who are all going to the All-Star Game. While Alex Verdugo and Rob Refsnyder have heated up lately, the Red Sox aren’t getting much help elsewhere in the lineup, especially with Trevor Story slumping.
A Ray of Light
The Rays will send Drew Rasmussen to the mound on Thursday when they go for the sweep. Rasmussen has made 14 starts this year, going 5-3 with a 3.11 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. The only caveat is that Rasmussen has failed to get out of the fifth inning in each of his starts since coming back from the IL earlier this month, although he has continued to pitch effectively.
Of course, Tampa’s lineup is a little short-handed nowadays, with Mike Zunino, Wander Franco, Manuel Margot, and Kevin Kiermaier all on the IL. The trio of Harold Ramirez, Francisco Mejia, and Yandy Diaz have helped to carry the load recently. But the likes of Randy Arozarena and Isaac Parades have gone ice-cold lately, so Tampa’s two biggest power threats have been non-factors lately.
Bring Out the Brooms
Tampa’s missing pieces aside, the Rays are still well-positioned with Rasmussen starting this game. The Red Sox have fallen into a slump and have been terrible against their division rivals this year. Bet on the Rays to win at home on Thursday and complete the four-game sweep.
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