The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays enter their Sunday Night Baseball contest separated by a half-game in the AL East standings. This means that the winner of Sunday’s game will be the leader of the division at the end of this series. In this high-stakes matchup, the Rays will look to complete a weekend sweep of their division rival, while the Red Sox look to end a run of poor form against division opponents.
Red Sox Losing at the Wrong Time
Entering Sunday’s action, the Boston Red Sox have lost four of their last five games, dropping two of their last three to the Blue Jays before dropping the first two games of the Rays series. Their pitching has been a big reason for their struggles in their recent matchups, as Boston has allowed seven or more runs in each of their last three games. On Sunday, the Sox will hope that Nick Pivetta can turn that trend around.
Pivetta has been far from convincing this season for the Red Sox, even though he has an 8-4 record on the year. The Boston starter has an ERA over 4.50 on the year and has failed to go five innings in three of his last five starts. Against a potent Rays lineup, Pivetta will need to be on his game if the Red Sox are going to get to the first weekday of August with a lead in the division.
Rays Picking Up Steam
The Tampa Bay Rays had struggled earlier this week, dropping the final game of their series with the Cleveland Indians before losing the first two games of their series against the Yankees. But the Rays have responded brilliantly to that mini-three-game losing streak, winning the series finale with the Yankees before taking the first two against Boston. Now, the Rays have a chance to build further momentum against their division rival on Sunday night.
If Tampa is going to continue to win games, their bats will likely be the source of that success. The Rays have averaged ten runs per game over their last three games, scoring at least seven runs in each of those contests. Against Pivetta, the Rays have a genuine chance to put up big numbers on the offensive side once again, which would put them in a prime position to win their fourth straight game.
Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Betting Pick
Right now, the Tampa Bay Rays are simply operating on a higher level offensively than the Boston Red Sox, which will be the difference in this contest. Tampa has shown that it can get to the Boston bullpen, which has to be somewhat taxed after the team has allowed 29 runs over the last three games. Expect the Rays to get to Pivetta early, forcing Boston’s bullpen to take part in the action earlier than they might like, as the Rays will continue to put up runs on the way to a big win.
Prediction: Rays -1.5 over Red Sox
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