Red Sox Look To Close Out Rays In Tampa

The Boston Red Sox took care of business in Boston in astounding fashion scoring 19 runs against the Rays in games started by aces Matt Moore and David Price.  The Red Sox were relentless in Boston and I don’t imagine that they are going to take the foot off of the pedal as they try and close the series out in Tampa on Monday night.  Clay Buchholz will start for the Sox and match up against Tampa’s Ryan Cobb who started and won the one-game play-in for the Rays last week.

Ortiz and the Sox hope to keep the magic going in Tampa

Ortiz and the Sox hope to keep the magic going in Tampa

Buchholz was 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA this season and is 4-3 with a 2.26 ERA lifetime at Tropicana Field.  On the other side Cobb was 11-3 with a 2.76 ERA on the season.  He was 7-0 at home this season but one of his 3 losses came against the Red Sox at Fenway Park earlier in the year.  I wouldn’t expect much offense in this game unless one of the pitchers totally has the wheels come off which I don’t see.

That leaves it up to who can manufacture more runs and who has the bullpen that will hold up.  After tearing through their bullpen in game 1 the Rays used only Jake McGee in game 2 and had the day off.  They’ve yet to use closer Fernando Rodney.  The Red Sox used Ryan Dempster in mop-up duty in game 1 and then used Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehera to perfection in game 2.  If the Sox get a repeat performance out of the bullpen they will be very tough to beat.

Both teams will try and manufacture runs in this one.  Look for small ball early as both teams fight for an inch.  As far as home runs go each team has 2 so far this series.  Alex Cobb gave up 13 homers this season including 6 at Tropicana.  Buchholz gave up 4 all season long and half of those were in his final tune-up start against the Baltimore Orioles.  All in all the Red Sox have a pretty big advantage in the offense department and when the pitching is as close as it is the Sox will have the upper hand.  Cobb will have to be near perfect for the Rays and that will be tough to do against such a confident team at the plate.

Buchholz will try and close the Rays out

Buchholz will try and close the Rays out

I picked the Sox in 4 with them taking the first 2 in Fenway so I am right on schedule.  What I didn’t foresee, however, was their total dominance at home in outscoring the Rays 19-6.  These Sox are on a mission and, as good as a team as Tampa is, their offense is just too weak to match up with these Red Sox.  I think it will be more like game 2 than game 1 but at the end of the night the result will be the same.  Sox win and head to the ALCS.

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