MLB ALDS Preview: Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Can Boston carry their regular season success into the playoffs? Photo: Boston faces Tampa Bay in the ALDS/AP

LOS ANGELES, October 4, 2013 — The Boston Red Sox have shocked the baseball world by finishing tied with St. Louis for the best record in baseball with 97 wins in a rebuilding year. Tampa Bay stumbled out of the gate, but righted their ship and finished strong with 92 wins, which was good for a second place finish in the AL East. The teams faced 19 times during the regular season with Boston taking 12 of the games.

Lineup: Boston led the majors in runs scored with 853, while posting a team slash line of .277/.349/.446. The Red Sox offense was led by David Ortiz .309/.395/.564, Dustin Pedroia .301/.372/.415 and Jacoby Ellsbury .298/.355/.426. Tampa Bay scored 700 runs during the regular season to go with a .257/.329/.408 slash line. The Rays offense was led by Evan Longoria .269/.343/.498, Ben Zobrist .275/.354/.402 and Desmond Jennings .252/.334/.414.

SEE RELATED: MLB NLDS Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves

Edge: Red Sox

Starting Pitching: The Boston Red Sox starters compiled a 3.84 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP and 793 strikeouts in 984 innings pitched. The staff was led by Jon Lester 3.75 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 7.47 K/9, John Lackey 3.52 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 7.65 K/9 and Clay Buchholz 1.74 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 7.98 K/9. The starters for Tampa Bay combined for a 3.81 ERA with a 1.24 WHIP and 793 strikeouts in 965.1innings pitched. Their staff was led by David Price 3.33 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 7.28 K/9, Alex Cobb 2.76 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 8.41 K/9, and Matt Moore 3.29 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 8.56 K/9.

Edge: Push

Bullpen: Boston’s bullpen put up a 3.70 ERA with a 1.31 WHIP and 464 strikeouts in 470 innings pitched. They were led by closer Koji Uehara 1.09 ERA, 0.57 WHIP and 12.23 K/9, Craig Breslow 1.81 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 4.98 K/9 and Junichi Tazawa 3.16 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 9.48 K/9. The Rays bullpen compiled a 3.59 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP and 517 strikeouts in 498.2 innings. Tampa Bay’s relievers were led by closer Fernando Rodney 3.38 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 11.07 K/9, Joel Peralta 3.41 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 9.34 K/9 and Alex Torres 1.71 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 9.62 K/9.

SEE RELATED: MLB NLDS Preview: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Edge: Rays

Defense: The Rays defense had a .990 fielding percentage, allowed a .783 stolen base success rate, had a 35.00 range factor and a 6.686 zone rating. The Red Sox posted a .987 fielding percentage, allowed a .756 stolen base success rate, had a 36.28 range factor and a 6.258 range factor.

Edge: Push

Manager: John Farrell is in his third season as a manager, his first with the Red Sox. He has a career winning percentage of .516. This will be his first playoff appearance as a manager. Joe Maddon is in his tenth year as a manager, eighth with Tampa Bay. He owns a career winning percentage of .522. He was voted Manager of the Year in both 2008 and 2011. This will be Maddon’s fourth time bringing the Rays to the playoffs. He took them to the World Series in 2008, but lost to Philadelphia.

Edge: Rays

Prediction: Rays in 5

Dr. Steven L. Adler of the Wells On Baseball think tank also contributed to this article.

Kevin J. Wells is the Sports Editor for The Washington Times Communities and also writes about Major League Baseball and punk rock music. Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Kevin J Wells

Kevin J. Wells was born and raised in the Los Angeles area in a town called Montrose.  He currently plays guitar for and is a founding member of the Los Angeles punk rock band Emmer Effer.  He has worked in a number of different career fields including Behavioral Therapy, Commodities, Insurance, and most recently a food cart in Portland, OR. Kevin has been both a sports and entertainment columnist and editor for The Washington Times Communities since January 2013.

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