Rand Arozarena & Rays favored to take 2-0 series lead in latest ALDS odds.

Tampa Bay Eyes Commanding 2-0 Lead Over Boston Friday

The Tampa Bay Rays improved to 8-3 over their last 11 games with a 5-0 win over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night. The Rays will try to earn another win against the Red Sox on Friday night in Tampa.

Boston Red Sox vs Tampa Bay Rays
  • Date/Time: October 8, 7:02 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Tropicana Field
  • TV Coverage: FS1
  • Sportsbook Odds: Rays -130 | O/U 8 (Line History)
  • Red Sox vs Rays Matchup Report

Sportsbook Odds Analysis

The Rays opened as -130 favorites in Game 2 and have moved up just slightly to Tampa Bay -132. Boston is a +122 road underdog on Friday and the total is down to 7.5 runs since Sportsbook at 8 runs. The UNDER is 8-2 in Boston’s last 10 games.

Starting Pitchers Analysis

Chris Sale returned in August from his Tommy John surgery after missing the entire 2020 season and the first half of 2021 in recovery. Sale pitched well in his 42 innings of work, compiling a 5-1 record with a 3.16 ERA, a 1.34 WHIP and 52 strikeouts.

Shane Baz joined the Rays in late September and made three starts, recording a 2-0 record with a 2.03 ERA and a 0.68 WHIP in 13.1 innings. Baz was dominant in 78.2 minor-league innings this season with a 2.06 ERA, a 0.80 WHIP and 113 strikeouts.

Boston News & Notes

The Red Sox actually outhit the Rays 9-6 in Thursday’s 5-0 loss, but all nine of those hits were singles. Boston went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners stranded in the shutout loss, which snapped a four-game winning streak.

With the loss, Boston fell to 5-15 in its last 20 games as an underdog. The Red Sox finished the regular season on an 11-5 run to lock up their wild-card spot, but the majority of those wins came against bottom-feeders like the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals. Tampa Bay is a clear step up in competition.

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Tampa Bay News & Notes

The Rays had a handful of important contributions in their win over the Red Sox as Nelson Cruz hit a home run, Wander Franco doubled twice and Shane McClanahan pitched five shutout innings. Randy Arozarena stole the show, though, with a home run and three runs and stole home in the first inning to set the tone for the rest of the game.

Arozarena batted .377 and had 19 runs, 10 home runs and 14 RBIs in Tampa Bay’s postseason run last year. The 26-year-old is the favorite to be named rookie of the year this season and looks poised to be an impact player again in this year’s playoffs.

Why Boston Will Win

Boston’s offense is probably too good and too deep from top to bottom to get shut down so thoroughly in back-to-back playoff games. If Chris Sale is at his best and the Red Sox can give him a bit of run support, this series could easily be 1-1 heading into the weekend.

Why Tampa Bay Will Win

The Rays showed on Thursday just how dominant they are across the board. Tampa Bay scored 28 more runs than the Red Sox this season and allowed 98 fewer. Barring a bunch of bounces going against them or a sensational performance from Chris Sale, the Rays should come out on top.

Computer Pick: Rays ML (-140)

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Shark Bites
  • Boston is 2-6 in its last 8 games vs AL teams.
  • Tampa Bay is 12-4 in its last 16 games vs Boston.
  • The UNDER is 7-1 in Tampa Bay’s last 8 games.