The Boston Red Sox (44-43) and Tampa Bay Rays (45-42) will continue a three-game American League East series on Saturday night at Tropicana Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 ET
Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
Boston lost six of its previous seven games heading into the All-Star break, but managed to tally a 3-1 road victory over Tampa Bay on Friday night. “It was nine innings of really good pitching,” commented Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. The Red Sox have managed to produce a 21-14 record on the road since April 23, while going 7-2-2 in series play over that span. The club holds a 6-4 advantage in this season series, with eight more games to be played. Boston is 18-10 versus left-handed starters and the “under” is 14-13 in those contests.
Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz (8-2, 5.53 ERA) has won his last four starts, but hasn’t been seen on a major league mound since landing on the 15-day disabled list with an illness on June 20. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 5.71 ERA in six road starts, with opposing hitters batting .299 against him. In 11 career starts versus the Rays, Buchholz has produced a 5-3 record and 2.49 ERA, issuing 25 walks and collecting 64 strikeouts in 68.2 innings.
Tampa Bay has fallen 8.5 games back in the division race and continues to struggle at the plate offensively. The Rays have gone 11-19 over their last 30 home games, averaging just 3.6 runs per game in that span. “We’re trying to scratch to score runs,” commented outfielder Ben Zobrist. The Rays were one of eight teams to hit as low as .232 before the All-Star break and still own a winning record since 1942. Tampa Bay is 6-8 as a home favorite of -150 to -175.
Rays starting pitcher David Price (11-4, 2.82 ERA) has won his last three decisions, but is coming off a no-decision effort at home against the New York Yankees, allowing just a single run and four hits over seven innings in a 4-3 loss. The left-hander is 5-2 with a 2.22 ERA in eight home outings, with opposing batters hitting just .207 against him. In 12 career games versus the Red Sox, Price has registered a 6-4 record and 3.22 ERA, while not allowing a home run in his last four outings.
Sports bettors will likely back the Rays due to their 36-16 mark in Price’s last 52 starts against division rivals, while the Red Sox are 1-4 in Buchholz’s last five starts with 24 or more days of rest.