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Boston Red Sox vs Tampa Bay Rays: Lineups, preview, & prediction (August 8, 2017)

The AL East battle renews this week as Boston travel to Tampa to take on the Rays in a two-game series.


The Red Sox come into this two-game set in Tampa with a three-game lead in the AL East thanks to a six-game win streak and the sensational play of rookie third baseman Rafael Devers.

The Rays are 5.5 back of the Sox and need to take both games to keep their divisional hopes going. They are, however, well in the thick of the Wild Card race. Tied with the Royals for the second wild card, Tampa can’t afford to fall back into the clutches of the chasing pack.

Game 1 starters – Chris Sale (LHP) vs Austin Pruitt (RHP)

Sale’s last start was a rare rough one, as he got tagged for two home runs and seven earned runs, ending a streak of 22.1 scoreless innings. He has, however, continued his incredible strikeout rate and is leading the league with 12.7 K/9 this year.

Rays rookie Pruitt is carrying a 5.65 ERA and 1.558 WHIP, however, in his three starts, his numbers are far better. A 3.14 ERA and 0.977 WHIP as a starter is far more reassuring to Rays fans. His last outing was on August 2 when he blanked the Astros across 6.1 innings. If he can bring that kind of performance again then Tampa stand a chance of beating Sale.

Lineups

Red Sox LineupHome RunsBatting AverageOn-Base Percentage
Betts, RF18.269.343
Benintendi, LF13.269.355
Nunez, 2B8.319.345
Ramirez, DH17.250.337
Devers, 3B3.349.429
Bogaerts, SS6.280.336
Moreland, 1B14.242.330
Vazquez, C2.280.316
Bradley Jr, CF13.259.332
Rays LineupHome RunsBatting AverageOn-Base Percentage
Dickerson, LF21.296.341
Plouffe, 1B8.211.275
Longoria, 3B17.271.325
Morrison, DH28.251.362
Ramos, C3.182.215
Hechavarria, SS0.234.252
Miller, 2B4.199.342
Bourjos, CF5.236.281
Smith, RF2.284.352

Who’s hot, and who’s not

In nine games with the Red Sox, Eduardo Nunez is hitting .400 with four homers and 12 RBI. Playing for a contender in a park that doesn’t kill hitters has woken him up. His bat has been supported by that of Rafael Devers, who has slashed .349/.429/.605 with three homers in his 11 games in the Majors.

The last two weeks haven’t been friendly to Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, or Jackie Bradley Jr though, they are all hitting .220 or under with one homer.

Over the last week, both Logan Morrison and Steven Souza have a pair of homers, while both Morrison and recent signing Lucas Duda are hitting over .300.

Unfortunately, Corey Dickerson has cooled off in recent weeks, hitting .208 in the last two weeks and going 0-for-12 in the recent series with the Brewers.

Prediction: Red Sox 5 – 2 Rays

The Red Sox are in a groove and the longer it goes the less likely they are to be caught. With a trip to the Bronx following this pair of games in Tampa they need to keep their momentum up, and with Sale on the mound and their newer bats booming, it seems like they will keep on rolling. There is a threat though. The Rays are a powerful team who can blast home runs up and down the lineup. A few long balls and suddenly this game will be in danger.

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Toby Durant

A passionate and opinionated writer, I am currently the NFL editor for RealSport. However, I also contribute to F1, WWE, Football, and other sections of the site, and I have covered the NFL International Series for RealSport and previously contributed to SB Nation.

 

I also have 10 years playing and coaching experience in American football, starting at the University of Nottingham and including a stint as defensive coordinator at Oxford Brookes University. I may be a Patriots fan but all aspects of the sport interest me, from guard play to special teams.

Boston Red Sox vs Tampa Bay Rays: Lineups, preview, & prediction (August 8, 2017)

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