The Tampa Bay Rays (60-42) and Boston Red Sox (61-42) will close out a four-game American League East series Thursday night at Fenway Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay has won seven of its last eight games, including a 5-1 road victory over Boston as -108 road favorites Wednesday, while going UNDER the betting total for a fifth consecutive contest. The Rays now have a chance to take over first place in the division standings for the first time since April 6, which has the clubhouse enthused. “We still have a month and a half left, but I think you start realizing every game is huge,” commented Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson. Tampa Bay is 17-3 in July, with the UNDER going 14-5-1 in that situation.
Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (9-3, 4.62 ERA) has led the club to six consecutive victories, including a 4-3 road win over the Toronto Blue Jays last time out, as he allowed two runs and five hits over five frames. The right-hander is 4-2 with a 5.10 ERA in nine road outings, issuing 14 walks and striking out 42 batters in 54.2 combined innings. In 12 career games (11 starts) versus the Red Sox, Hellickson has tallied a 4-2 record and 4.14 ERA, including a 6-2 victory at this ballpark on June 19.
Boston has alternated wins and losses over its last seven games, while going UNDER the total in six of those affairs. “Hey, we’ve got to keep plugging, can’t worry about tonight,” commented Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino. The Red Sox are averaging just 2.9 runs and batting .225 over their last eight games, which is unusual for one of MLB’s top offenses. Boston is 21-20 at home with a money line of -100 to -125 this season, with the UNDEr going 5-2-1 in that situation.
Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey (7-7, 2.95 ERA) has alternated wins and losses over his last four games, as he looks to bounce back from a 5-2 home defeat to the New York Yankees last time out. The right-hander is 4-2 with a 1.90 ERA in seven home efforts, issuing seven walks and striking out 50 batters in 47.1 combined frames. In 21 career games versus the Rays, Lackey has produced a winning 12-7 record and 4.39 ERA.
Sports bettors will likely back the Rays due to their 4-0 record in Hellickson’s last four starts versus division foes.