Tampa Bay Rays versus Boston Red Sox MLB
Game 1 Tuesday
Time: 4PM ET TV: MLB PPV
The defending American League Champions Tampa Rays will open the season on the road against the Boston Red Sox. This game has been rescheduled for Tuesday after rain forced the postponement. On the hill in game 1 of this series will be James Shields for the Rays and Josh Becket for the home team Red Sox. The LVSC send out for game 1 of this series has the Red Sox favored at –150 with the buyback on the underdog Rays at +140. The total is set at 9 runs. The Rays rise in the American League was due in part to a much-improved bullpen that finished the season with an ERA of 3.58. Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett was not the overpowering pitcher seen in recent years. Becket finished the 2008 season with a home ERA of 5.74. The team record behind Beckett in 13 home starts was 5-8 last season. The Rays hit Beckett hard in the AL Playoffs as the veteran right-hander gave up 10 earned runs and 5 home runs in 10 1/3rd innings. Teams hit .256 last year against Beckett which was a career high against the Red Sox pitcher. Right-hander James Shields takes the hill in game 1 for the Rays. Shields home and away splits showed the young Rays pitcher giving up nearly 2 ½ runs more per game on the road than at home. Teams hit .277 against Shields on the road and only .234 at Tropicana Park. In 4 starts versus Boston last year Shields gave up 13 earned runs in 20 innings pitched. Tampa has won 4 of their past 5 games at Fenway Park.
Trend: Team record behind Becket in his last 8 home starts is 1-7
Game 2 Wednesday
Time: 7PM ET TV: MLB PPV
Weather Forecast: Mid 40’s very windy
Game 2 scheduled starters will be Scott Kazmir for Tampa Bay and John Lester for Boston. Lester was the workhorse for Boston last year pitching 210 innings in 2008 and leading the staff. In 17 home starts in 2009 Lester compiled an 11-1 record with a WHIP of 1.19 and an ERA of just 2.49. Boston’s starter was 3-0 in three starts last year versus Tampa with an ERA of just 0.90. Kazmir is another pitcher whose home performance was dominant and struggled a bit on the road. In 13 starts the Ray’s lefty was 4-6 with an ERA of 4.10. Teams hit nearly 50 points higher against Kazmir on the road than at home. Kazmir was 0-2 with an ERA of 9.00 in 4 starts versus the Red Sox last season. Kazmir struggled with his control against Boston as he allowed 14 walks in 18 innings pitched. The Red Sox hit .324 against Kazmir last season.
Trend: The Over is 5-1 in Kazmir’s last 6 road starts
Game 3 Thursday TV: MLB PPV
Time: 1:35PM ET TV: MLB PPV
Weather Forecast: Mid 40’s cloudy skies
Game 3 scheduled starters will be Matt Garza for the Rays and Daisuke Matsuzaka for the Red Sox. Dice K in 29 starts for Boston compiled an 18-3 record with an ERA of 2.90. In three starts versus Tampa last season Dice K was 1-0 with an ERA of 3.00. Dice K was in excellent form in leading Japan to the WBC title. Matt Garza takes the hill in the get away game for the Rays. Garza as most of the Rays was great at home and struggled away from Tropicana Field. Garza in 15 road starts was 4-6 with an ERA of 4.53. Teams hit .256 against the Rays right-hander away from home last season. Garza was bombed in his only regular season start at Fenway last season as he gave up 5 earned runs and 2 home runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Trend: Team record behind Garza in his past 6 road starts is 1-5