Red Sox – Rays ALDS Preview And Predictions
The Red Sox and Rays played 19 times this season and will play at least 3 if not 5 more as they match up against each other in the playoffs for the 2nd time. The Rays got the best of the Red Sox in 7 games in the 2008 ALCS. This year the Sox went 12-7 against the Rays but many believe the pitching match-ups favor the Rays who will put out lefties Matt Moore and David Price in the first two games. Here is a look at how the Red Sox writers for Boston Sports Then & Now see the series playing out:
Nathan Farrell – The Rays have one of the best baseball minds on their bench in Joe Maddon. He picks the right pitchers in the right spots and has a bench that makes you scratch your head but they come up huge. The Red Sox need to win one of the first two games in Boston or they are in real trouble. People are saying the Red Sox will have five home games as Tampa Bay does not gather a good crowd. This really could impact the games too. David Price I feel will be dominant in Game 2 but Jon Lester will be just as dominant in Game 1. Clay Buchholz has a great history against the Rays and I believe that will continue. The Sox offense struggled against Tampa’s staff this year but did win 12 out of 19 against their division foe. With all this talk of extra rest it feel it will benefit the Red Sox on the injury front as Victorino, Napoli and Ellsbury got some extra time off. Tampa has not been home in nearly two weeks and the Sox have to hope that will catch up to them in being in four cities in a span of six days. If Will Middlebooks can provide some pop at the bottom of the Red Sox lineup that surely will be tough to beat. The Red Sox pitchers need to be put on notice that Delmon Young is a playoff performer and do not throw him fastballs because he will beat you. I have the Red Sox winning in 5 games. I just feel the Rays offense will not beat able to stack up as Myers will struggle as well as Fernando Rodney will make a mistake in at least one game.
Ryan Kuketz – Despite winning 12 out of 19 against the Rays this season, I see Tampa as being a major problem for the Red Sox. Out of the 12 wins against Tampa, half were won by 1 run. Despite needing a tie-breaker game and the Wild Card round, their rotation will still be in good shape. In order for the Red Sox to win they MUST play perfect baseball. I predict the Tampa Bay Rays will beat the Red Sox in 5 games.
Erik Venskus – There is a lot of sentiment behind the Rays heading into this series but it sounds like the same momentum they’ve had for the past few years where they have failed to get out of the first round each time. The main problem for the Rays is their lack of a productive offense. The Sox will use their righty-heavy lineup in the first 2 games at Fenway to try and counter Moore and Price. David Price has been overworked in the past month and the Sox will try and work his pitch count early. Lost in the Rays’ starter hoopla is the fact that the Sox pitchers match up favorably with the Rays’ lineup. The Red Sox are not afraid to win a game in Tampa. I think they will take the first two games and win one in Tampa to close the series out. I’m calling the Sox in 4.
Jack Moran – Even with the Rays pitching depth I expect the Red Sox to win this series in 4 games. They have solid pitching along with the best offense in baseball. Likewise, I expect the Cardinals to beat the Pirates in 4. They have a good combination of pitching and offense just like the Sox. I expect both the A’s-Tigers and the Braves-Dodgers to go 5, with the Braves and Tigers prevailing carried by their offense.