Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay (Moore) vs. Boston (Doubront)
MLB Betting Odds from TopBet
Moneyline: Boston (-113) Tampa Bay (+103)
Boston came into this series with a disappointing 1-5 record on the year. Tampa Bay was 4-1 as this weekend series started. The Red Sox dominated the Rays Friday as Josh Beckett bested David Price. The Rays scored four in the top of the first Saturday, but it was the Red Sox who went on to slug out a huge 13-5 win. This is a four-game set that stretches into Monday. The Rays have been great in Boston the last couple years, but the Red Sox offense has been amazing the last couple days.
Matt Moore will start this one for the Rays. Moore is an extremely high touted prospect who has worked his way into the team’s starting rotation. Some baseball insiders rate Moore as one of the top two or three prospects in baseball. Moore only has two career big league starts, but both of them have been impressive. Moore has 19 strikeouts in less than 16 innings pitched in his young career. Overall, the Rays pitching staff has been very disappointing so far this season. The Rays pitching staff has a 6.75 ERA.
Carlos Pena is back with the Rays this year, and he is off to a terrific start. Pena has been the team’s hottest hitter so far this season. He has a .486 on-base percentage, and he already has three long balls this season. Evan Longoria is much healthier than he was last year, and he is swinging a good bat so far this year. Desmond Jennings is off to a slow start, but the team expects big things from him in 2012.
Boston’s offensive explosions over the last couple days have them leading the big leagues in scoring this year. The Red Sox average 5.88 runs per game. The offense took a big hit this weekend when Jacoby Ellsbury was put on the Disabled List with a shoulder injury. David Ortiz has already knocked in nine runs this year, and Ryan Sweeney has come through with tons of clutch hits. Kevin Youkilis has been surprisingly bad, but he has looked much better the last couple days.
Defensively, the Red Sox have only made two errors this season. Felix Doubront will start for the Red Sox in this one. Doubront is considered a big question mark by many, but he did look good in his first start of the season. He isn’t a guy who will pitch too deep into the game, so they’ll need a strong bullpen performance in this game.
The Rays are 16-5 in their last 21 Sunday games. Boston is 2-7 in their last 9 home games against a left-handed pitcher. The Rays have the pitching edge in this one, but the Red Sox have the better lineup. Tampa Bay has lost the first two games of this series, but they are still 8-3 in their last 11 games against the Red Sox.
MLB Free Pick: Rays ML