Matchup: Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Date/Time: May 15, 7:10 p.m. EST

Television: ESPN

Starting Pitchers: Boston (Lester) Tampa Bay (Price)

MLB Gambling Odds from BetDSI

Moneyline: Rays (-111) Red Sox (+101)

Total: 7

 

The Boston Red Sox burst out of the gates with the best record in baseball, but they have slowly been slipping back to the pack. The Yankees now lead the AL East, and the Baltimore Orioles are right with the Red Sox in a fight for the second spot. Tampa Bay started the season slowly, but they are up to 19-18.  Can the Rays keep things going in the right direction? Two high quality lefties will be on the mound in this one.

Game Overview:

The biggest reason the Red Sox are having a much better season so far in 2013 is the major turnaround from their starting pitchers. Boston has been getting great work from guys like Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, and Jon Lester. Lester will start in this game for the Red Sox. He had a 9-14 record and a 4.82 ERA last year, but he is 5-0 with a 2.73 ERA so far this year. He has struggled against Tampa Bay in recent years. The Red Sox are only 1-4 in Lester’s last 5 starts against Tampa Bay.

Boston’s offense was on fire at the beginning of the year, but they have cooled off a bit over the last few games. David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury aren’t hitting the way they were earlier this year. Will Middlebrooks hasn’t been able to get it going all year, and the team really need him to find his stroke. While the Red Sox offense has been very good overall this year, they are hitting just .231 as a team against left-handed pitching.

Tampa Bay’s offense has been red hot over the last couple weeks. The Rays actually had 10 straight games go over the posted total. While Boston has struggled against lefties, the Rays have excelled against left-handed pitching. Tampa Bay has a team batting average of .281 against lefties, and they are averaging 5.60 runs per game against left-handers. The Rays have guys like Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist who can really punish southpaws. James Loney is hitting .376 to lead the team so far this year. Loney’s huge offensive performance so far in 2013 has been a big surprise that has boosted the offense.

The Rays starting pitching has been inconsistent. Youngster Matt Moore has been great, but David Price hasn’t looked like the Cy Young winner he has been in previous years. Price is 1-3 with a 4.78 ERA on the year thus far. His best start of the season so far was actually against Boston in Fenway Park about a month ago. Tampa Bay’s bullpen continues to rank near the bottom of the majors in ERA. The Rays pen has given up a lot of late leads in 2013.

Free Pick: Rays ML

Tampa Bay has been hitting the ball extremely well in general, and they are amazing against left-handed pitching. The Rays have been good at home for the past few years.