Saturday evening baseball and we will see the Boston Red Sox take on the Tampa Bay Rays in game 2 of their 3 game set from Tropicana Field. The game is scheduled for a 7:10 (ET) pm start time and it will be televised live on NESN (Boston) and SUN (Tampa Bay). Currently the odds have Tampa Bay favored at -145, while Boston is a dog of +138. The total for the game sits at 7.5 runs.
Free Analysis: The Boston Red Sox are slowly getting their injured players back in the lineup. Friday saw the return of Jacoby Ellsbury and Will Middlebrooks. Ellsbury and Middlebrooks combined to go 1-for-9 on Friday, but David Ortiz and Pedro Ciriaco continue to be hot for Boston. Ciriaco is 10 for 16 with two doubles, six RBIs and three stolen bases in four games since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket last week. His outstanding stretch has come after rookie Will Middlebrooks' success allowed Boston (44-43) to trade Kevin Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox last month. The All-Star break didn't cool off Ciriaco, either. He went 3 for 3, drove in three runs and stole another base to help Boston to a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay (45-42) on Friday to open this three-game set. David Ortiz isn't surprised either as Ciriaco hit .419 with 14 runs and eight steals in 26 games in spring training. "He showed everybody what he could do in spring training," Ortiz said. "Having him here and doing what he's doing, I'm not surprised." Ortiz is enjoying his own impressive stretch, hitting .380 with five homers over the last 15 games. He currently has an eight-game hitting streak, going 11 for 25 with two homers after connecting for a solo shot Friday. Still, the All-Star designated hitter is 5 for 45 in his past 13 visits to Tropicana Field, and he's 4 for 22 versus Price. Getting the ball for the Sox will be Clay Bucholz (8-2, 5.53 ERA), who has been hospitalized with a gastrointestinal illness since June 19. The right-hander had a string of four straight quality starts broken up in his final appearance, when he was reached for five runs and nine hits in six innings against the Miami Marlins. Buchholz has allowed seven runs in 14 innings against the Rays this season and is 5-3 with a 2.49 ERA in his career against the division rivals. The Rays don’t have anything positive to report on third baseman Evan Longoria, who has been out since tearing his hamstring on April 30. There is no concrete timetable for his return. Other sluggers - specifically Carlos Pena (.198 batting average), Luke Scott (.203) and B.J. Upton (.245) - are having trouble picking up the slack. David Price (11-4, 2.82 ERA) is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his last four starts, and he's yielded four runs in 21 innings over the last three. The All-Star left-hander was impressive again July 4, allowing one run and four hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings while not getting a decision in a 4-3 loss to New York. He's 6-4 with a 3.22 ERA in 12 career starts against the Red Sox, and seemed on his way to another victory May 26 before closer Fernando Rodney allowed a two-run walkoff homer to pinch-hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia in a 3-2 defeat. Price allowed one run in seven innings in that meeting.
Free Pick: Im going to look to the home team in this one. Will Middlebrooks and Jacoby Elsbury are back for the Sox, but they did struggle last night (1-9 combined) and it may take some time for them to get their timing down. David Ortiz has been on a good run, but he is still 5-45 in his last 13 games in this park and 4-22 in his career vs David Price. Overall Sox hitters are just 22-105 (.210) with just 1 HR and 7 RBI's. David Price has been very good this year, going 11-4 with a 2.82 ERA, while at home he is 5-2 with a 2.22 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. Clay Bucholz pitched very well before going on the DL (3-0 with a 2.45 ERA in his last 3 starts), and while he still has an overall record of 8-2 ans a road record of 3-1 he still has high ERA's (5.53 overall and 5.71 on the road). Tampa's offense is struggling, but the Rays have hit .264 off of Clay in 144 AB's and should get some runs off him tonight. Its still gonna take time for Ellsbury and Middlebrooks to get their offensive swing back, and with the way that Ortix struggles in this park and vs Price and with the way that Price Pitches at home I have to feel that the struggling Rays should pick up a big win here.
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