Date/Time: October 7th, 6:00 PM ET
Probable Starters: Buchholz (Boston) vs. Cobb (Tampa Bay)
Moneyline: Rays -106
The Tampa Bay Rays are on the brink of extinction this year, but this is nothing new for them. They are 3-0 when their backs are against the wall in games already in the last week and a half, and they have to beat the Boston Red Sox three straight times to keep their season going, starting on Monday night at Tropicana Field.
Boston has looked great offensively in the first two games of this series, and it looked great in games against a pair of southpaws. The Sox were figured to struggle just a bit in those games against lefties, but in the end, the team put up 19 runs in two days. The pitching wasn’t always at its best, but the offense surely was, and as long as that stays the case in this one, this series won’t last much longer. Manager John Farrell will go for his first postseason series win on Monday with RHP Clay Buchholz on the mound. Buchholz went 12-1 this year with a 1.74 ERA, but something has to be bothering Farrell about his righty to drop him to the third spot in the rotation. Buchholz hasn’t pitched since September 27th, meaning that he will have had nine days of rest to get ready for this start. This is also only his fifth start since returning from a DL stint that started in the beginning of June and lasted for three months.
This Tampa Bay team fought and fought hard on Sunday night, but LHP David Price just didn’t have all of the answers to post shutdown innings when they were really needed. Now, it’s up to RHP Alex Cobb to keep the season going, and he is in the same position that he was in during the AL Wild Card Game on Wednesday. The righty was great that night, throwing 6.2 gritty, scoreless innings, and that marked the fourth straight game in which he allowed two runs or fewer. Cobb went 11-3 this year with a 2.76 ERA, and he is clearly the best, and really the only viable righty that Manager Joe Maddon has to throw in this series. Cobb has proven time and time again that he has what it takes to pitch in big spots, but his last bad outing came right here at home against these Red Sox on September 11th. Cobb allowed three runs and seven hits in 5.2 innings of work, and odds have it, if that’s how he pitches on Monday, the season will be coming to an end in Tampa Bay.
There’s a point that the Rays are going to have to pack it in for the year, and we think that perhaps they have reached that point. They were shell-shocked in Boston, and RF Wil Myers probably watched his season come to a close when he botched that ball in right field in Game 1. He is now 0-for-9 at the plate, and he hasn’t looked good. That’s the way this whole Tampa Bay team has looked, and at +100, we’ll take our chances with the Red Sox to close this one out on Monday.
Boston Red Sox @ Tampa Bay Rays Pick: Boston Red Sox +100
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.