The betting experts know that the writing is on the wall for the Boston Red Sox. This series with the Tampa Bay Rays will pretty much determine if the Sox make the playoffs or not. Right now, the Red Sox are five and half games out of the AL East lead and out of the AL wild card berth. They are the only team considered to be in striking distance of the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays for that wild card spot.
The Rays need to start putting some distance between themselves and the New York Yankees if they want to win the AL East, or distance between themselves and the Red Sox if they want to lock up the wild card should they lose the AL East. In other words, if the Rays can sweep the Red Sox in this series then they pretty much lock up the AL wild card and can focus on beating out the Yankees for the AL East pennant.
With Beckett on the injured list for most of the season, pitcher Jon Lester has assumed the role of Red Sox ace. Lester has a 13-8 record with a 3.26 ERA. He is continually asked to pitch in the big games for the Red Sox, and that includes this one. Red Sox skipper Terry Francona scratched the struggling Daisuke Matsuzaka to move Lester back to days in the rotation just so he could be the opening pitcher in this series. Lester, like all Red Sox starting pitchers, has been having problems the last few games. The last time Lester faced the Rays he gave up nine runs in a little over two innings.
The Rays put their ace David Price on the mound for this game. MLB betting experts may not have been too familiar with Price when the season started, but his 15-5 regular season record and 2.97 ERA has gotten everyone’s attention. Price struggled a bit in his last start against the Oakland A’s, but his ability to bring himself under control allows him to stay competitive in almost every game he plays in.
Pick: Boston Red Sox 5-2
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