Oh no! This is exactly what I did not want to happen, but yet I knew it would. Fairy tales are fairy tales for a reason; they are not based in reality. Cleveland vs Boston in the ALDS just wasn’t meant to be. Terry Francona will not come back to Boston. The B- reel of nostalgic moments from 2004 and 2007 will not air on Friday night. Still, fans must march on, now more concerned than ever. The Boston Red Sox face the Tampa Bay Rays today at Fenway Park.
The Sox have a slight edge over the Rays, winning 12 out of the 19 regular season games. This is only a 5 game win margin between the two teams. Feels tight to me, but maybe I am just your typical nervous Boston fan.
Here is another statistic that mirrors the one regarding our regular season games against the Rays: the Red Sox won half of their games, plus a few extra, each month to get to the post season. I know, you are probably thinking, “No, duh, that’s how it works.” The point I am trying to make, and boy am I belaboring it, is that this Red Sox team is squeaking by and winning. The come from behinds, and blow-out 20 run games have all been exciting for many reasons, but mostly because they have allowed fans to forget the losses along the way. It was no different in 1967, or in 2004. So can we do it in 2013?
Here’s the bad news, the stuff we don’t want to hear about Tampa. The Rays played twice in the last week and have won five of the last five games, the last two getting them to the ALDS. They want this pretty bad. On top of their consistent play throughout this week, they have a strong record on the road. And just for icing on the cake, pitcher Matt Moore has the start for them this afternoon. He is 17-4 for the season.
The good news is the Red Sox are their strongest at home. This first game will set the tone for the rest of the series, as three games are scheduled to be played in Boston. Pitcher Jon Lester is 15-8 for the season, so he’s just nipping at Moore’s heals. Offensively, players like Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, and others continue to surprise fans and rise to the occasion when the pressure is on. Plus, they have an extensive 19 game history with this 2013 Tampa team. They know their enemy well.
With all this said, great, bad, and indifferent, where do you think the ALDS series is headed?