The Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees in the AL Wild Card Game and now head south to face the Tampa Bay Rays in the Division Series. Game 1 of the ALDS is scheduled for Thursday, October 7th at Tropicana Field. First pitch is at 8:07 p.m. ET on FS1. We’ll break down the regular-season series and who won.
Rays 11-8 over Red Sox
The Tampa Bay Rays were the kings of the AL East this season, winning the division for the second consecutive year with a franchise best 100 wins. The Rays were able to finish with the best record in the American League due to how the performed against each of their AL East foes.
When it came to the Red Sox, the Rays had their number, going 11-8 in the 19-game season series. In the second half of the regular season, Tampa Bay won three out of the four series against the Red Sox. The only series they didn’t win was a four-game series at the end of August, which saw the two squads come away with a split.
The Rays will give the ball to Shane McClanahan for Game 1, who has also pitched fairly well against the Red Sox this year. The 24-year-old McClanahan is 1-1 with an ERA of 2.81 in three starts against Boston. The next best starting pitcher on the Rays, who has solid numbers vs. the Red Sox is Drew Rasmussen with a 2.30 ERA. While Tampa Bay bolsters a solid pitching staff, they also have one of the better offenses in the American League.
This season, Tampa had four players, who hit 20 home runs or more. Brandon Lowe led the team with a career-high 39 home runs and 99 RBI. The 27-year-old second baseman will be someone to watch out for as he’s played well against the BoSox this season. Lowe is hitting .291 with 5 HRs, 12 RBI, and recorded 16 walks this season vs. Boston. Then there’s also last year’s postseason hero, Randy Arozarena, who led the Rays in batting average this season at .274.
As for the Red Sox, they know that they are going to need bring the offense, if they want to pull the upset in the ALDS. In their eight wins against Tampa Bay, the Sox averaged eight runs per game. However, in their 11 defeats to the Rays, Boston only scored 3.6 runs per game.
With that in mind, the Sox are going to need Xander Bogaerts, who hit a two-run home run in the AL Wild Card game, to carry that momentum over to Game 1. The good news is that the 29-year-old shortstop is hitting a ridiculous .429 with 2 HRs and 10 RBI against the Rays this season. The Red Sox starting pitching will also play a factor in this series. As of right now, we do not know who is starting in Game 1 of the ALDS after a tremendous outing from Nathan Eovaldi in the wild card. Chris Sale, Nick Pivetta, and either Eduardo Rodriguez or Tanner Houck will need to step up.