Major League Baseball

MLB Game Preview for Aug 27: Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Terry FranconaThe 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.

While this series determines if the Red Sox are the talk of Bean Town in September, or if NFL betting and college football betting take over the Boston sports landscape, it is also a time for the Red Sox to re-evaluate their roster for next season. There must be something going on in Boston if Johnny Damon refused to go back there for a season. Designated hitter David Ortiz is probably on his way out, and pitching ace Josh Beckett is still battling the same back problems that have hampered him his entire career.

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.

The importance of this game to the Red Sox cannot be overstated. This is not the first time Francona has passed over Matsuzaka for the start in an important game. There is also a great sense of relief in Red Sox Nation at the turnaround of closer Jonathan Papelbon. Papelbon has picked up his last four save attempts in a row and has allowed only one hit in the last four games.

Pick: Boston Red Sox 5-2

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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