Thursday night, the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays open their American League Division Series matchup with Game 1 at Tampa's Tropicana Field. Tampa won the AL East and earned the No. 1 see in the AL with a 100-win season. The Red Sox punched their ticket to the ALDS with a win over the rival Yankees in the Wild Card Game. You can view the full postseason schedule by clicking here.
With that throat-clearing out of the way, let's get to the important stuff.
How to watch
Date: Thursday, Oct. 7 | Time: 8:07 p.m. ET
Location: Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg, Florida)
TV: FS1 | Stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Odds: TB -160; BOS +150; O/U: 8 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Starting pitchers: LHP Shane McClanahan vs. Eduardo Rodriguez
These two AL East rivals are meeting in the postseason for the third time. The Rays beat the Red Sox in seven games in the 2008 ALCS to clinch the franchise's first ever pennant. That series was David Price's coming out party and also marked the arrival of the Rays as a competitive team. Prior to that, they were still a pushover recent expansion club. The Red Sox somewhat returned the favor when they beat Tampa in four games in the 2013 ALDS.
The Rays are expected to make history and start three rookies in the first three games of the ALDS. No team has ever done that. McClanahan will start Game 1, Shane Baz will start Game 2 despite having only three major league appearances to his credit, and Drew Rasmussen is expected to start Game 3 (depending whether he's used out of the bullpen in Game 1 or 2). Tampa doesn't really have a rotation, of course. They use their entire staff and the ALDS will feature pitching changes galore.
As for the Red Sox, they announced their Game 1 starter as Eduardo Rodriguez. Chris Sale is not available after starting Sunday and Nathan Eovaldi is not available after starting the Wild Card Game on Tuesday. Rodriguez finished the year with a 4.74 (100 ERA+) in 157 2/3 innings.
The Rays have the pitching advantage, and they're just a much more well-rounded ballclub. They have a high-scoring offense and are far superior on the bases and in the field. Anything can happen in one single game, but give me the Rays in Game 1.
Pick: Rays 7, Red Sox 3
2021 MLB postseason gear now available
The 2021 MLB Playoffs start Oct. 5 and 6 with the AL and NL Wild Card games. In celebration, 2021 MLB postseason gear is now available for select teams. Shop hoodies, shirts, and more here.
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