Being up 2-0 in a series, especially a short one, is a pretty comfortable spot in which to be. But this is baseball. 2004 tells Red Sox fans that anything can happen and that the best thing to do is step on an opponent’s neck once you have them knocked to the mat in a playoff series.
Never mind who’s more deserving. Boston’s worst to first thrill ride and once again manic fan base compared with Tampa Bays dead last in the majors 18,645 a night regular season attendance doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that the Rays fan base simply doesn’t care. It doesn’t matter that the other 45% of the park will be filled with fakers who will fill up the supremely ugly Tropicana Field Monday night, clang their cowbells and waive their hankies for the television cameras in a lame attempt to act like real fans. What matters is getting a W and getting it now.
All snarkiness about their fans and field aside, Tampa Bay is still a dangerous team. Yes, they finished 5.5 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East, a differential that was actually larger than the final tally would indicate. They played a boatload of games down the stretch, staring down both the Rangers and Indians during a Wild Card play in series en route to their tilt with the Sox. Now they’re up against it. Monday night is all the more reason why Boston has to put them away now.
I like nothing more than sticking a finger in Joe Maddon‘s eye. You know why? Because he’s smart and that makes his teams ones that can exceed potential. He has, however, in this series exhibited an appalling lack of his usual cagey and savvy managing style, primary of which was leaving David Price is for so long in game two when he clearly didn’t have it. He acts lethargic and so does his team. That’s a good thing for the Sox and all the more reason to end this quickly before Maddon or anyone on the team starts feeling frisky. The Red Sox will do themselves a great service if they get the brooms out now and sweep away the last vestiges of a team that appears to have run out of gas.
Clay Buchholz squares off against Alex Cobb tonight at 6 pm at the Trop. With a win Boston can finish off the Rays and wait for the winner of the As/Tigers series, which is tied 1-1. The Tigers and As play today at 1 pm at the Coliseum as Oakland’s Jarrod Parker faces the Tiger’s Anibal Sanchez.