The Boston Red Sox got right over the weekend against the Detroit Tigers, and now comes a much tougher test: Game one of a three-game set at Tropicana Field against the undefeated Tampa Bay Rays. Nick Pivetta (0-1, 1.80 ERA) will take the hill for Boston, while reliever Jalen Beeks will serve as the opener before giving way to bulk man Josh Fleming (0-0, 15.00 ERA).
The Rays are heavy -155 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Red Sox check in as +135 underdogs. The run total is set at 8.5.
Red Sox-Rays picks: Monday, April 10th
Day to day: OF Adam Duvall (wrist)
Out: SP Garrett Whitlock (hip), SP Brayan Bello (elbow), SP James Paxton (hamstring), SS Trevor Story (elbow), INF Adalberto Mondesi (knee)
Day to day: INF Taylor Walls (elbow)
Out: OF Jose Siri (hamstring), SP Tyler Glasnow (oblique), SP Shane Baz (Tommy John), RP Andrew Kittredge (Tommy John)
Nick Pivetta vs. Jalen Beeks/Josh Fleming
Pivetta had an up-and-down first start, giving up three runs (one earned) in five innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates while striking out six. He’s been almost exactly a league-average pitcher for Boston over the last two years, and that’s held true against the Rays: He has a 4.83 ERA in eight career starts vs. Tampa.
Beeks should only go for an inning or two before giving way to Fleming for the middle innings. The Rays tried the same strategy last week against the Washington Nationals to disastrous results, as Fleming was lit up for five runs on 10 hits and a walk in three innings. The Red Sox have had his number over the years, with a 9.58 ERA in six appearances.
Granted, it came against the Tigers, but the Red Sox lineup had a breakout weekend — and has been mashing lefties all year. The Rays, meanwhile, have far and away the league’s best team OPS against right-handed pitching so far this season. Tampa’s bullpen has been the one chink in the armor of their 9-0 start, all of which adds up to the over here.
Pick: Over 8.5
The Rays have been red-hot, but Boston’s favorable odds have me going with the Red Sox in this one. Pivetta is inconsistent, but his fastballs high/curveballs down blueprint is capable of navigating six or seven innings, while Fleming doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence. Besides, Tampa has to lose eventually, right?
Pick: Red Sox