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Rays Open as -145 Favorites Over Red Sox in ALDS

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in MLB Baseball

Oct 5, 2021 · 9:00 PM PDT

Randy Arozarena, Brett Phillips and Wander Franco celebrating
From left to right, Tampa Bay Rays' Randy Arozarena, Brett Phillips and Wander Franco celebrate after scoring on a double by Francisco Mejia during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
  • The Boston Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees in the Wild Card game, setting up a battle with the Tampa Bay in the American League Division Series
  • The Rays are -145 favorites to win the best-of-five series
  • See how the odds are how the teams stack up

The Boston Red Sox vanquished their arch-rivals, the New York Yankees, on Tuesday night, setting up an ALDS clash with another AL East power, the Tampa Bay Rays.

Tampa earned the #1 seed in the AL by going 100-62 (52-29 home, 48-33 away) in the regular season. Boston earned the first Wild Card with a 92-70 record (49-32 home, 43-38 away).

The best-of-five series starts on Thursday, October 7th. Oddsmakers have established the Rays as -145 favorites.

Red Sox vs Rays ALDS Series Odds

Team Odds to Advance Total Games
Boston Red Sox +125 TBD
Tampa Bay Rays -145 TBD

Odds as of October 5th at FanDuel.

Regular-Season Series

The Rays took the regular-season series between the teams convincingly, going 11-8 against Boston. That looks even more grim for the Bo-Sox when you consider that Boston swept the first series back in April. That means Tampa is 11-4 against Boston since May.

The unassuming Rays are as complete a team as there is on the Junior Circuit. They posted an AL-best +206 run differential, finishing second in both runs scored (857) and runs against (651). Boston was fourth in runs scored (829) but just ninth in the 15-team league in runs allowed (749). Their +80 run differential was fifth.

Statistical Comparison

Tampa Bay
.261 (3rd)* Batting Average .242 (7th)
.333 (3rd) wOBA .322 (5th)
291 (6th) Home Runs 222 (T-3rd)
107 (5th) wRC+ 109 (3rd)
4.27 (6th) ERA 3.67 (1st)
4.07 (5th) xFIP 3.97 (2nd)
9.68 (3rd) K/9 9.14 (6th)

*Number in parentheses represents the team’s rank in the American League.

Starting Rotations

There are no Cy Young contenders in the mix here. With Tyler Glasnow sidelined, the Rays starting staff became a list of journeymen, former relievers, and  rookies. Ryan Yarbrough (5.11 ERA, 1.23 WHIP) logged a team-high 155.0 innings. Michael Wacha, who was second at 124.2 innings, also has an ERA over five (5.05).

Rookie Shane McClanahan was arguably the best starter on the team over the entire season. In 123.1 innings, he finished with a 3.43 ERA and 1.27 WHIP.

As with recent years, Tampa’s bullpen did yeoman work. They led the AL with a 7.9 WAR and 3.24 ERA. Andrew Kittredge, Diego Castillo, and Pete Fairbanks will be asked to eat a lot of innings in the series.

Boston’s starting staff is bit more conventional. Nathan Eovaldi, who picked up the win in the Wild Card game, pitching 5.1 innings of one-run ball, led the starters in innings (182.1) while recording a respectable 3.75 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. Both Eduardo Rodriguez (157.2 IP, 4.74 ERA) and Nick Pivetta (155.0 IP, 4.53 ERA) finished with over 150 innings on their resume.

Perennial Cy Young contender Chris Sale returned from injury in mid-August, ultimately making nine starts, posting a 3.03 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. It’s unclear where is stamina is. He only pitched past the fifth inning once in those nine starts.

Best Bet

The Rays are the first 100-winn team to have a bottom-five payroll since Billy Beane’s “Moneyball” Athletics back in 2002. They lack starpower and are consistently being undervalued as a result. But their batting order is relentless with no real weak spots. They are consummate professionals at the plate, making opposing pitchers work for every out.

While Tyler Glasnow, Blake Snell, and Charlie Morton are no longer anchoring the rotation, most of this roster played in the World Series just a season ago.

Tampa Bay at -145 is a fair price.

Pick: Rays to Advance (-145)

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