The Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox are set to face each other in a best-of-five American League Division Series.
While the Red Sox are certainly talented, the Rays are the heavy favorites.
MLB betting: The Rays are significant favorites over the Red Sox in the ALDS https://Kevin Cash could have taken the '62 Mets to the world series he's been that great putting new talent together!
— Edward (@Edward508) October 7, 2021
Here is why they could, and should, sweep the series.
3. The Standings And Numbers Don’t Lie
This is a somewhat obvious reason why Tampa is the favorite, but it shouldn’t be overlooked.
They won 100 games and comfortably took the AL East division, while Boston was eight games behind and had to earn their ticket to the ALDS with a win against the Yankees in the Wild Card game.
That’s a number that matters: eight games of difference between the two teams.
Do you want another number that matters?
Run differential: The Rays finished the season at +206 while the Red Sox were at +80.
Boston was good; Tampa was great.
Tampa will have the home-field advantage, which is significant because they went 52-29 at Tropicana Field.
The Rays took the series against Boston in 2021 with a convincing 11-8 record.
2. Tampa’s Bullpen Is Significantly Better
In the playoffs, every run matters.
Avoiding runs at all costs should be every pitching staff’s mantra, and that is the Rays’ organizational philosophy.
They have the right pitcher for every opposing batter, and they are always one step ahead: they are prepared for handedness disadvantages, for avoiding their pitchers to face lineups for a third time, and other situations.
The Rays bullpen had the third-best ERA in MLB and the lowest in the AL, at 3.24.
The Red Sox bullpen is not bad, but is significantly more vulnerable in comparison to Tampa’s, as it finished with a 3.99 ERA.
The Rays have a “stable” of arms capable of shutting down opposing lineups in the bullpen: breakout star Andrew Kittredge, JT Chargois, Pete Fairbanks, J.P. Feyereisen, Josh Fleming, Collin McHugh, Luis Patiño, David Robertson, and Matt Wisler.
1. The Young Guns
Tampa is perfectly capable of sweeping the Red Sox for many reasons.
One of them is the quality and youth on the Rays roster.
Sure, their top power threat is 41, Nelson Cruz, but the Rays are full of young, impressive offensive performers in their twenties.
At 20 years old, he carries himself like a seasoned veteran, and is already performing like a star.
Wander Franco vs. the Red Sox this season:
.311/.400/.607 (176 wRC+) in 70 PA
3 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 15 R, 1 SB, 9 BB, 7 K
Wander Franco vs. teams not named the Red Sox this season:
.282/.332/.423 (112 wRC+) in 238 PA
15 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 38 R, 1 SB, 15 BB, 30 K
— Brendan Campbell (@brendan_camp) October 6, 2021
Overall, there are lots of reasons why we think the Rays are perfectly capable of sweeping the Red Sox.
It’s not that Boston is bad: that’s not the case, as they are a talented, well-coached baseball team.
The Rays are just in another league.