Rays vs Red Sox Picks and Predictions: Tampa Trounces Boston at Fenway

As the Rays jockey for playoff positioning, they draw a final series against the Red Sox. Tampa has owned Boston this season and has also generally performed well against lefties. Even though Rich Hill did well against them once, I like the Rays to win.

Last Updated: Oct 2, 2022 8:15 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Randy Arozarena Tampa Bay Rays MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The final week of the 2022 MLB regular season kicks off on Monday as teams embark on their last series of the year. Two teams going in different directions face off at Fenway Park when the Tampa Bay Rays pay another visit to the Boston Red Sox.

The Rays are still pushing for positioning in the AL wild-card race despite already having a spot wrapped up. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will enter the offseason with the worst record in the AL East regardless of how these final three games turn out.

Our free MLB betting picks and predictions determine whether the Rays apply pressure in the wild-card race or will the Red Sox play spoiler.

Rays vs Red Sox best odds

Rays vs Red Sox picks and predictions

One of the big reasons the Red Sox find themselves in the AL East basement is an inability to play well within the division. Despite a slight winning record vs. Baltimore (10-9), Boston has gone a combined 13-41 vs. the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Rays. Tampa has gone 12-4, outscoring Boston 82-54 in the 16 games to date. 

Rich Hill has faced Tampa three times this season. One start, on August 27, was one of his best on the season as he allowed three hits while striking out 11 over seven scoreless innings. Another, on September 6, was among his worst, when he allowed five runs on nine hits while striking out three in four labored frames.

Generally speaking, neither can be fully trusted as a barometer for how Monday's game will go. The better start was the only time this season Hill has even recorded an out in the seventh inning. Conversely, he's failed to complete five innings in 13 of his 25 starts, giving way to a Boston bullpen that ranks 26th in MLB with a 4.65 ERA. It's been even worse lately as no team in the majors has a worse bullpen ERA than the Red Sox at 5.76 in the second half. The closest is Colorado at 5.19.

So, even if Hill works somewhere between his floor and his ceiling, the Rays will get an opportunity to face the worst crew of relief pitchers in baseball.

But even before that happens, the Rays can deploy a number of lefty-killers to give Hill fits. In fact, the top half of the lineup is built to crush left-handed hurlers. Here's a look at the season stats vs. LHP from the first five hitters from Tampa's lineup the last time they faced a lefty (Houston's Framber Valdez) on Friday, September 30:

Player Slash line wRC+
Yandy Diaz .310/.400/.472 161
Randy Arozarena .325/.373/.573 171
Wander Franco .288/.309/.409 108
Harold Ramirez .370/.424/.472 165
Manuel Margot .342/.412/421 149

Arozarena leads that bunch with the power stroke, mashing six home runs off southpaws this season. Isaac Paredes, who typically hits lower in the lineup, is only batting .236 vs. left-handed pitchers but has a team-leading seven bombs against them. Switch-hitting catcher Francisco Mejia is another who owns lefties, batting .345 with a 148 wRC+ in 85 plate appearances.

The Rays are built to torture lefty pitchers and could mount a considerable lead even before they face a reliever. And while there may be some concerns about how deep Tyler Glasnow can pitch in his second appearance since returning from Tommy John surgery, as long as he gives Tampa three solid innings, it should be enough. Anything more than that is gravy.

For as bad as Boston's bullpen has been all season, Tampa's has been outstanding. The 3.29 ERA ranks sixth in MLB and no team has gotten more innings out of its relief corps than the 670 1-3 from the Rays.

And Glasnow passed his first test by going three strong innings against the Cleveland Guardians, hitting 99 mph on the radar gun in the process. The bullpen is rested, as Tampa only used one pitcher in relief of Corey Kluber on Sunday and two apiece on Friday and Saturday vs. Houston. 

Even with Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers likely returning to the lineup after resting vs. Toronto on Sunday, I don't think it'll be enough to thwart Glasnow and the Rays. Take Tampa to win by a couple once again.

My best bet: Rays -1.5 (+127 at Pinnacle)

Best Rays vs Red Sox bonuses

Looking to bet on some MLB action? Here are two of the best bonuses* available:

A) New users at FanDuel can get a no-sweat first bet up to $1,000! Sign Up Now

B) New users at DraftKings can get a deposit bonus up to $1,000! Sign Up Now

*Eligible USA locations only

Rays vs Red Sox moneyline analysis

The Rays can be found between -130 and -138 on the moneyline for the series opener, indicating an implied probability between 56.52% and 57.98%. The Rays have absolutely owned the Red Sox this year, going 12-4 straight up, though just 3-3 at Fenway Park. If this game was at Tropicana Field, the Rays might be even shorter on the line.

Still, with Hill and his short leash giving way to a truly awful bullpen, the Red Sox are in a difficult position against a team pushing for better positioning in the postseason.

The Rays have hit left-handers well and Glasnow returning to the mound only bolsters a pitching staff in need of stability with Shane Baz out for the season and Shane McClanahan looking a little weary.

Boston has lost nine of its last 12 games and is coming off a three-game set in Toronto where the Blue Jays outscored the Red Sox 25-3. Yes, a return home might be exactly what the Red Sox need, but a 40-38 record in front of a friendly crowd is still not enough to apply a distinct advantage.

Rays vs Red Sox Over/Under analysis

The total for Monday's showdown is set at 8.5, which might be a bit high unless Tampa unloads on Hill like they can vs. lefties. Still, neither team is especially profitable to either side of the total with the Rays 71-77-11 O/U and the Red Sox 75-74-10. 

Neither team has sowed its oats with the home run ball, either. Boston ranks 20th in MLB with 152 long balls while Tampa is 25th with 135. Tampa relies more on excellent pitching to keep opponents off balance while using opportune hitting to win games.

When Boston loses, though, it loses big. The Over has hit in six of the Red Sox's last seven losses.

If the Rays keep the Red Sox bats relatively still, it will take a lot of offense to push this above the Over. It can obviously happen, but I don't like the 8.5 even with Boston's shaky bullpen. Tampa's pitching staff is strong enough to hold the Red Sox to two or fewer runs. If I had to pick a side, I'd lean toward the Under but I'm not playing the total at all.

Rays vs Red Sox trend to know

The Rays are 4-0 in their last five meetings with the Red Sox and 12-4 vs. Boston on the season. Find more MLB betting trends for Rays vs. Red Sox

Rays vs Red Sox game info

Location: Fenway Park, Boston, MA
Date: Thursday, October 3, 2022
First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Sun, NESN

Starting pitchers

Tyler Glasnow (0-0, 3.00 ERA): Glasnow allowed one run on two hits while striking out three and walking one in his first start since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2021. Before rejoining the Rays, the big right-hander tallied 14 strikeouts in seven rehab innings at Triple-A.

Rich Hill (8-7, 4.41 ERA): The 42-year-old Hill might finally be at the end of the line. His ERA is the worst it's been since his career was resurrected in 2015 and 2016. While he's stayed healthy with Boston this season, he rarely pitches beyond the fifth inning.

Rays vs Red Sox latest injuries

Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Rays vs Red Sox weather

Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.

Pages related to this topic

Popular Content

Legal Canadian sports betting

Best Canadian betting sites Ontario sports betting
Covers 25 Years Logo Established in 1995,
Covers is the world
leader in sports
betting information.
Covers is verified safe by: Evalon Logo GPWA Logo GDPR Logo GeoTrust Logo Evalon Logo