Sunday MLB Baseball Picks: Red Sox vs Rays
While plenty of teams were happy to get a rest for the All-Star break, the Red Sox may not have been one of them.
Sunday Night Baseball Betting – Red Sox vs. Rays Preview & Pick
Date: Sunday, July 17, 2011
Venue: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Betting Lines from BetUS.com
Money Line: Red Sox -145
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Boston Red Sox (55-35 through July 14)
Josh Beckett (8-3, 2.27)
They’d won six straight games entering the layoff and probably wanted to keep that momentum going.
Josh Beckett will hope to continue Boston’s dominant stretch on Sunday night Though he was a legit All-Star choice, he’s been slightly more human of late, allowing eight runs over his 19 innings pitched. Beckett has also allowed three homers in his last three starts. I would say that’s more trend than fluke, as his homer rate has been uncharacteristically low this season.
Beckett loves facing the Rays, even on the road. His last trip there was June 15; all he did was throw a complete-game, one-hit shutout with no walks. He’s 8-4 with a 3.15 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 111.1 innings versus Tampa all-time.
Tampa Bay Rays (49-41 through July 14)
Jeff Niemann (4-4, 4.53)
It’s safe to say this weekend’s set with Boston is Tampa Bay’s most important series so far this season. The Rays had kept pace with the Yankees and Red Sox for most of 2011 but, with the other two juggernauts really heating up, Tampa is in danger of sliding out of the American League East race.
Dropping two of three to the Yankees and Twins last week didn’t help matters.
Jeff Niemann will start on Sunday Night Baseball. Two years ago, he looked like a key cog in Tampa’s rotation. This season he’s the No. 4 guy at best. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be a helpful back-of-the-rotation starter.
Niemann has allowed one earned run or fewer in three of his last four starts.
BOS are 19-7 in their last 26 Sun. games.
BOS are 21-8 in their last 29 road games.
Under is 22-9-4 in BOS last 35 Sun. games.
Under is 10-3-1 in TB last 14 on astroturf.
Under is 41-13-2 in TB last 56 home games.
TB are 7-3 in their last 10 games on astroturf.
BOS are 3-7 in the last 10 meetings in Tampa Bay.
BOS are 5-11 in the last 16 meetings.
Free MLB pick:
Niemann’s splits look scary for this matchup. He’s 1-3 with a 5.53 ERA over five home starts this season. Worse yet, he has a 6.62 lifetime ERA versus Boston.
David Ortiz flashed a big stick at the Home Run Derby last week and is a .333 hitter with a homer and three walks over nine plate appearances against Niemann.
Look for Big Papi and Beckett to lead the Red Sox past Tampa – possibly in a rout.
Red Sox vs Rays prediction: Red Sox 6, Rays 2