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22 May 2018

Boston Red Sox Vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Lineups, preview, and prediction (May 22, 2018)

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Chris Sale (LHP) Vs. Jake Faria (RHP)

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Projected lineups

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Who's hot, and who's not

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Prediction

(Photo credit: Keith Allison)

Boston wrapped up a four-game series over the Orioles on Sunday with a dominant 5-0 win. The lineup was powered by two homers from a red hot JD Martinez and a two-run blast from Andrew Benintendi. On the mound Eduardo Rodriguez cut through the Baltimore lineup with seven strikeouts, though he did scatter nine hits across 5.2 innings.

The Rays just missed out on sweeping the Angels on Sunday night, as they fell 5-2. They struggled to consistently hit Shohei Ohtani while the bullpen game resulted in just three runs allowed, while an error accounted for the other two. Johnny Field hit a homer, and Denard Span hit in the other run, but the Rays managed just seven hits all game and could not keep up with the Angels.

Chris Sale (LHP) Vs. Jake Faria (RHP)

Sale has been in dominant form this season. Through 10 starts he is carrying a 2.29 ERA and a 12.4 K/9. He comes into his second start against the Rays with a stunning 42 strikeouts in 28 innings this month, and on the back of a five-inning, nine K win over the A’s. Sale has been the best non-Astros pitcher in the American League so far, and every start is a must-watch.

Faria comes into today with a disappointing 5.20 ERA. One of the main reasons he has given up so many runs this year is his shockingly high walk rate (4.2 BB/9). Combining that with fewer strikeouts a slight uptick in homers has ruined his efficiency. He comes into this game off the back of just 4.1 innings with four hits, four walks, and three runs allowed against the Royals.

Projected lineups

Red Sox Lineup Home Runs Batting Average On-Base Percentage
Betts, RF15.365.438
Benintendi, CF5.285.367
Moreland, 1B6.313.395
Martinez, LF15.343.397
Bogaerts, SS6.301.336
Ramirez, DH6.271.328
Devers, 3B8.237.286
Nunez, 2B3.241.262
Vazquez, C0.193.238
Rays Lineup Home Runs Batting Average On-Base Percentage
Span, LF4.235.356
Cron, DH11.278.327
Robertson, 2B5.273.424
Ramos, C6.283.327
Miller, 1B4.241.315
Hechavarria, SS2.273.303
Arroyo, 3B0.400.538
Field, CF4.308.348
Refsnyder, RF1.146.314

Who's hot, and who's not

Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and JD Martinez are the hottest bats in the Majors right now. The trio of outfielders are hitting .386, .377, & .327 over the last two weeks respectively. Martinez's power has been off the charts, with seven homers in that time frame while Benintendi has four and Betts two along with eight steals. The rest of the Red Sox lineup has been so-so, with Eduardo Nunez hitting .273 and Xander Bogaerts hitting .250 in that span, however Rafael Devers and Jackie Bradley Jr have been poor.

Johnny Field and CJ Cron have been powering the Rays of late. Field has a .355 average over the last two weeks and a pair of homers, while Cron is hitting .327 with four homers in the same time frame. On the other end, Rob Refsnyder is struggling, as is Denard Span and Wilson Ramos.

Prediction

It is impossible to pick against Chris Sale when the lineup behind him is playing so well. The Rays lineup isn't in great form, and they are dead last in runs at home. That is not a good way to battle Sale and the booming bats of Boston. I'm taking the Red Sox to win by 3+.