MLB Picks: Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays

The Boston Red Sox (39-25) and Tampa Bay Rays (34-28) will open up a three-game American League East series Monday night at Tropicana Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET on ESPN

Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays 

The Tampa Bay Rays lineup has had good success against Boston Red Sox SP John Lackey
The Tampa Bay Rays lineup has had good success against Boston Red Sox SP John Lackey

Boston has won seven of its last 10 games, including a 10-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels as -165 home favorites Sunday, while going OVER the total for a fourth consecutive contest.  The Red Sox lead baseball with 336 runs scored and have averaged 7.63 runs over their last eight affairs.  Offensively, outfielder Jacoby Ellsburgy continues to make things happen on the base paths, as he has 11 steals in his last 10 games.  Boston is 10-4 on the road when the betting total is 8 to 8.5, with the OVER going 7-6-1 in that situation.

Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey (3-5, 2.79 ERA) has watched the club drop his last two outings, as he failed to earn a decision in a 3-2 home defeat to the Texas Rangers last time out, allowing one run and five hits over six frames.  The right-hander is 1-4 with a 4.56 ERA in five road outings, surrendering five home runs in 25.2 combined innings.  In 20 career games versus the Rays, Lackey has compiled a 12-7 record and 4.30 ERA, including a 4-5 mark and 6.88 ERA in nine efforts at this ballpark.

Tampa Bay had its two-game winning streak snapped Sunday, as it suffered a 10-7 setback to the Baltimore Orioles as -137 home favorites, while going OVER the total for the first time in five contests.  The Rays are now in fourth place in the division standings, but their manager is pleased with their continued effort on the field.  “I love the fact that we kept battling back,” commented Rays skipper Joe Maddon.  Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, James Loney, Matt Joyce and Yunel Escobar are all hitting above .300 against Lackey.  Tampa Bay is 4-3 at home with a money line of -100 to -125, with the OVER going 5-2 in those seven opportunities.

Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (6-2, 2.39 ERA) has rattled off three victories in a row, but didn’t earn a decision in a 3-0 road win over the Detroit Tigers last time out, as he allowed just five hits over 7.2 shutout innings.  The right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.91 ERA in six home starts, with opposing hitters batting just .196 against him.  In five career starts versus the Red Sox, Cobb has compiled an even 2-2 record and 2.79 ERA, serving up just a single home run in 29 combined frames.

Sports bettors will likely back the Rays due to their 18-6 record in their last 24 games versus a right-handed starter.

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