The Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox are set to face each other in the second game of what has been a competitive series. Currently, the Red Sox are the favorite to win this contest at -1.5 according to many sportsbooks.
Boston is 11-15 ATS at Fenway and sports a 30-24 record as the favorite. Overall, they have a 14-12 record at home. Tampa Bay is very impressive on the road ATS. They have a 19-10 mark, and they have a chance to improve on that record with a good showing in the rest of the series. Both teams are some of the best in baseball, so this series should be great to watch.
Rays Might Struggle With Smith
Starting for Boston on Saturday is pitcher Josh A. Smith. In what is the first game of a doubleheader, Boston needs to get the most out of him. His last start did not go so well as he allowed four runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Tampa Bay has never seen Smith, so the element of surprise may be in play here. Sometimes, that can work in the pitcher’s favor. Although the Rays may struggle with Smith, they could have an easier time with him once they see him through the order a couple of times. This could be a case where Smith is on a short leash. This puts him in a tough position as Boston needs to rest its bullpen for the second game of the doubleheader.
Boston Has Firepower Of Its Own
In the meantime, Boston has a couple of starters that have found success against Tampa Bay’s Ryan Yarbrough. Xander Bogaerts is one of them. In nine at-bats, he has tallied three hits and a run batted in. It always seems like he has good at-bats against this pitcher. That is evident by the fact he has never struck out against Yarbrough.
J.D. Martinez is another player who seems to have good at-bats against Yarbrough. Then again, it seems like Martinez excels against every pitcher he faces. In seven at-bats, he has tallied four hits, three of which have gone for doubles. He has also managed to walk once. In what has been a difficult season for Boston, Martinez has managed to deliver. The Red Sox would certainly like him to deliver again on Saturday.
Both Teams Need Hot Bats
With both starting pitchers not possessing firepower stuff, this is the perfect opportunity for both teams to have good days offensively. Thanks to the famous Green Monster in left field, Fenway Park is a place where hitters love to play. Any ball off the top of the Monster is a guaranteed double for most hitters.
Both teams need to focus on making contact and maximizing their opportunities with runners on base. This entire series is one that could provide momentum to the winner. Setting the tone in the first game of the doubleheader is a good place to start.
Given the fact that the Red Sox have struggled as of late, I would take Tampa Bay in this contest. Make sure to pick Tampa Bay +1.5. I know the Red Sox are defending World Series champions, but I do not have confidence in them right now.