The red hot Boston Red Sox host the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night. The Red Sox have won 7 of their last 10 games en route to a 19-5 start to their season so far. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay has won their last 6 in a row and still sit 3 games below .500 at 10-13. Drew Pomeranz gets the starting nod for Boston, while Blake Snell will start for Tampa Bay. Pomeranz has no record on the season, but has began the season with a 7.36 ERA. Snell, on the other hand, has won his last 3 games and has a 3-1 record. Boston comes into this contest as the favorite: at -170.
Rays: Snell Must Keep Up the Good Work
Blake Snell, after losing his first outing, has been lights out. He has a lot of momentum coming into this game. Adversely, his counterpart Pomeranz is still looking for his first decision and has performed poorly time after time as indicated by his high ERA. It’s safe to say that this start is a crossroads for both pitchers. For Snell, he can turn a lucky start into the makings of a career year. Pomeranz needs a win to help his confidence.
Snell will definitely have his work cut out for him, as Boston has 6 players batting .300 or above. Since Snell relies so heavily on the fastball, location will be absolutely essential. He will have to use the fastball to get ahead in the count as much as possible. For a win against a team that hits as well as the Red Sox, he will have to have at least one other pitch working at a high level (likely the changeup or curveball). He will have to use one of those pitches as an out pitch, especially if Boston is hitting his fastball well.
Red Sox: Continue the Hot Hitting
Boston has been performing extremely well at the plate so far this season, with the aforementioned 6 players batting over .300.
One of these players, Xander Bogaerts, suffered a fracture in his ankle on April 8th and has been on the DL ever since. He will be activated for Friday’s game, and will certainly be looking for a good start for the rest of his season. I would predict Bogaerts to have a good game, with at least a couple of hits. What will determine the outcome will be whether Boston can get men on base to be driven in by guys like Bogaerts.
Rays Stifle Red Sox
I’m going to take the unpopular opinion on this game. Boston’s offense has certainly been rolling, but so has Blake Snell. Snell’s fastball has been producing lots of swings and misses this season. I don’t see any reason why that should change, even against an electric team like Boston. With the great fastball, the changeup will become very important and effective for Snell. Look for him to get ahead in the count and get the key strikeouts using the changeup. I don’t see a high scoring game, but it’s certainly logical to think that it would be tough for Boston to hit a guy like Snell, who can use their aggressiveness against them. Take Tampa Bay at +150.
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