Red Sox vs Rays ALDS Game 2 Picks and Predictions: Tampa's Trop Dominance Over Boston Continues

The Rays struck first yesterday to take the lead in their best-of-five ALDS. They'll look to go up 2-0 tonight as MLB betting favorites, despite starting a rookie against veteran Chris Sale, but we think their dominance of the Sox at the Trop continues.

Rohit Ponnaiya - Betting Analyst at
Rohit Ponnaiya • Betting Analyst
Oct 8, 2021 • 15:05 ET • 4 min read
Shane Baz Tampa Bay Rays MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Game 2 of the ALDS between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays will take place on Friday night at Tropicana Field.

After getting blanked 5-0 last night, the BoSox will try to even the series at one game apiece. But it won't be easy with MLB betting lines opening with Boston as a slim +115 underdog despite sending ace Chris Sale to the mound against young rookie Shane Baz.

Here are our best free Red Sox vs. Rays picks and predictions for Friday, October 8, with the opening pitch at 7:02 p.m. ET.

Red Sox vs Rays odds

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Red Sox vs Rays picks

Picks made on 10/08/2021 at 9:50 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Red Sox vs Rays game info

Location: Tropicana Field. St. Petersberg, FL
Date: Friday, October 8, 2021
Time: 7:02 p.m. ET

Red Sox vs Rays betting preview

Starting pitchers

Chris Sale (5-1, 3.16 ERA): The seven-time All-Star made his return from Tommy John surgery in August and while he looked sharp in his first few outings, he has regressed in recent weeks. The southpaw has allowed 26 hits and 13 runs (nine earned) in 21 1-3 innings over his last five starts.

Shane Baz (2-0, 2.03 ERA): Baz is the Rays' top prospect and excelled at Triple-A East Durham, where he pitched to a 1.76 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 46 innings, before getting the call up to the big leagues in late September. The 22-year-old made his debut with a strong performance against the Blue Jays, where he limited them to two runs on just a pair of hits through five innings. Then he pitched 5 2-3 innings of shutout ball against the Marlins and in his last start surrendered just one hit (albeit a solo home run) versus the Yankees last Saturday.

Red Sox vs Rays series odds

Red Sox: +300
Rays: -380


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

Key injuries

Red Sox: J.D. Martinez OF/DH (Questionable), Josh Taylor RP (Out).
Rays: Ryan Thompson RP (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Red Sox are 5-15 in their last 20 games as an underdog. Find more MLB betting trends for Red Sox vs. Rays.

Red Sox vs Rays predictions

The Rays cruised to the best record in the American League during the regular season, forcing their rivals in the AL East to fight over wild card scraps. While the Red Sox managed to dispatch the Yankees during the wild-card showdown, they felt the full effect of Tampa Bay's dominance in Game 1 of this series, getting beaten in every aspect of play.

The Rays had the better pitching, fielding, baserunning, and batting. While Boston did register nine hits, they were all singles and were scattered throughout the contest with their lineup never really getting into a rhythm and leaving every runner stranded.

Today, the Red Sox will send veteran Chris Sale to the mound in the hopes of preventing a daunting 2-0 deficit in this best-of-five series. 

Sale has enjoyed a productive career but he only recently recovered from Tommy John surgery and has had mixed results. The lefty has a 1.34 WHIP with an opponent batting average of .269 in 42 2-3 innings since returning to the rotation and has pitched to a 4.97 ERA in his last three starts.

The Rays counter with rookie Shane Baz, who has just 13 1-3 MLB innings under his belt (more than 1,600 fewer than Sale) but he's flashed his immense potential. The right-hander has primo stuff including a four-seam fastball and slider which both have elite velocity and movement.

The Red Sox have some terrific hitters and ended the regular season ranked third in the majors with an OPS of .777. However, that number plummeted to .723 away from Fenway and in 10 games at Tropicana Field this year they posted an OPS of just .642.

The Rays are simply scrappier at the plate, more dangerous on the basepaths, and have the superior bullpen. And while you might want to give Boston credit for having the more experienced starter, it's worth pointing out that Sale has a 5.76 ERA in 25 career postseason innings.

With the Rays going 8-2 in the last 10 meetings between these division foes in Tampa Bay, back them on the moneyline. 

After last night's contest, the Under has cashed in five of the last six meetings between these teams at Tropicana Field. The Under has been a profitable play for both clubs recently, with the Red Sox going 8-2 to the Under in their last 10 games and the Rays going below the total in seven of their previous eight contests.

The Rays are one of the most masterful teams in the league at defensive shifts, and their fielders always seem to be in the right position to neutralize Boston's contact. They also have one of the major's top bullpens, with their relievers boasting the best ERA (3.24), WHIP (1.14), and OBA (.224) in the American League.

With the Rays going 8-18 O/U in their last 26 playoff games at the Trop, expect another lower-scoring postseason contest and back the Under. 

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