When the scorching-hot Tampa Bay Rays beat the Red Sox on Monday night, the AL East futures odds briefly changed, with the Rays moving ahead of the Red Sox as the division favorites. At the time, Tampa was +110 and Boston +120.
However, the momentum changed in Boston’s favor in less than 24 hours, making the Sox now -120 favorites by Bovada oddsmakers.
The Sox made the big splash before the trade deadline, landing right-hander Jake Peavy from the White Sox in a three-team trade with Detroit. Boston had to give up young shortstop Jose Iglesias and three lower-level prospects, but most experts love the deal for the Sox. Boston gets Peavy through next season and didn’t give up the club’s top prospect, Xander Bogaerts.
The Phillies’ Cliff Lee may have been a better upgrade than Peavy, but Lee also has $70 million owed to him and is dealing with a neck injury. The Phillies also were asking for Bogaerts.
Meanwhile, the Rays have been all but unbeatable since July 1 when their Big Four of David Price, Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson and Chris Archer are on the mound. The Rays didn’t add a big piece before the deadline, other than currently injured reliever Jesse Crain from the White Sox. In addition, Moore was placed on the disabled list Wednesday because of soreness in his pitching elbow. Obviously, that’s never a good thing.
Moore (14-3), who threw a two-hit shutout of Boston on July 22, is eligible to return Aug. 13, but it might be an upset if he does. Moore hasn’t lost a game since mid-June. The Rays and Sox don’t play again until Sept. 10.
Peavy will make his Red Sox debut this weekend against the visiting Diamondbacks, and Boston will be a significant betting favorite in the series, likely around -175. Not all of the pitching matchups have been set yet. The Snakes have struggled since the break and have to play a tough makeup game Thursday night in Texas before traveling to Boston. It’s fitting Peavy will debut in the series, as Arizona was considered the other leading contender for the right-hander.
Arizona is set to start right-hander Brandon McCarthy (2-4, 5.00) in Friday’s opener. He hasn’t pitched since getting raked for six runs and nine hits on May 30 against Texas. McCarthy landed on the DL with shoulder problems soon after. McCarthy, a longtime American Leaguer, is 3-3 with a 4.82 ERA in 37 1/3 career innings against Boston. A David Ortiz hitting prop could be a wise choice, as Big Papi is 4-for-13 with a homer off McCarthy. Dustin Pedroia is 4-for-12 with four RBIs.
Diamondbacks ace lefty Patrick Corbin (12-2, 2.24) is scheduled to start Saturday. Arizona is 18-3 in his starts overall, and he has allowed just one earned run in each of his past four starts. He has never faced Boston. The only Red Sox player to face him is Shane Victorino, who is 0-for-3.
Ian Kennedy was to be Arizona’s Sunday starter, but he was traded Wednesday to San Diego. The Sox last faced the Diamondbacks in 2010, sweeping three at Fenway.