Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays Expert Pick and Prediction – April 12, 2023
BOSTON RED SOX VS. TAMPA BAY RAYS EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – April 12, 2023 — At some point, the Rays are going to lose a game, but with the way they’re playing, that might not come for a while. Tampa Bay has been favored in every game it’s played this season, and it’s come through in all of them.
To be fair, the Rays also haven’t played the strongest schedule, as Oakland, Washington and Detroit all lost 96 games or more a season ago. But the Rays also haven’t been scratched against that opposition, winning all but one game by at least two runs and putting up at least seven runs seven times already.
That might continue Wednesday, because Tampa Bay gets to face Chris Sale, who has had trouble keeping the ball in the park. The Red Sox starter has already seen four of his pitches sail out of the park in starts against Baltimore and Detroit, and Boston’s offense has had to bail him out. Sale will likely improve, but right now, he’s sporting an ERA over 11 and has proven quite hittable when opponents make contact.
Whether Boston’s offense can bail him out again depends on how well they adjust to facing Taj Bradley. The Red Sox were set to face Zach Eflin, but he’s out with back tightness and the Rays have called up their top pitching prospect from Triple-A Durham. Bradley looked good in his second Triple-A start of the year, but he got rocked in the opener against Norfolk and might not be ready for the Red Sox’s lineup. If the Rays are going to get beat, this might be the game.
|Boston Red Sox
|Tampa Bay Rays
(11-0 SU, 10-1 RL)
When: Wednesday, April 12, 2023, 6:40 EST
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Starting Pitchers: Chris Sale, BOS (1-0, 11.25 ERA, 13 K’s) vs. Taj Bradley, TB (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0 K’s)
Public Bets: 63% on Tampa Bay
Public Money: 64% on Tampa Bay
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of April 12th, 2023
Boston vs. Tampa Bay In-Season Trends
The Rays’ hitting has led to the OVER cashing in six of their past eight games, with one push. The only exception was a 1-0 pitcher’s duel with Boston which saw both teams combine for eight hits, but that shouldn’t repeat itself here. Sale hasn’t been getting outs and Bradley is a wild card, so it’s unlikely that the pitchers dominate this game.
Boston used to dominate this series, but things have changed in a big way. The Rays have taken full control when the Red Sox come to Tampa, winning 21 of the past 27 meetings between the teams at the Trop.
Players to Watch
Sale has struggled with keeping the ball in the park, but he hasn’t had any problems striking hitters out. In two starts, he’s average 6.5 strikeouts per game despite throwing just eight innings on the year. That might make for a good UNDER option in this game, though, because nobody strikes out less often than the Rays. Tampa Bay fanned just 65 times in its first 10 games, and the Rays are leading the majors in home runs with 25.
With Sale having problems with preventing home runs, backing a Tampa Bay player to hit a home run might be a great flier to take. Brandon Lowe and Wander Franco each have four home runs on the season, while Isaac Paredes, Yandy Diaz, Luke Raley and Harold Ramirez each have three. Whoever lands in the Rays’ starting lineup for this game offers strong value for a potential prop play.
It’s tough to trust Bradley in this spot without seeing him work, so this is more a play on the Rays’ bullpen. Only Milwaukee sports a better ERA than Tampa’s 1.57 mark out of its bullpen, so if Bradley can get the game to the fifth inning, the Rays’ arms should clean up from there.
Sale’s struggles should also help in this spot. He isn’t likely to get a ton of strikeouts given how well the Rays put the ball in play. As we’ve seen twice this season, when hitters put the ball in play against Sale, he doesn’t get things done. That should give Tampa Bay the edge, even with a rookie starter.
|Dan’s Picks||Rays ML (-120)
Chris Sale Under 5.5 K’s
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