Games 146 through 149 – Red Sox
Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 0
Blue Jays 8, Red Sox 1
Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 5
Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 3
1 GB Tampa Bay in AL East, 6 GA Minnesota in Wild Card
Second verse, same as the first.
The Sox kick off a 3-game set in Tampa tonight with the stakes nearly unchanged from last week’s hostilities in Fenway. As was the case then, this series means a whole lot more for the Rays than it does for the Sox, with both teams likely (not assured, mind you, most definitely not assured) to make the playoffs.
The Rays play the role of talented little brother to the Sox’ seemingly indifferent older sibling. Tampa clearly has the tools to win the division, but they’ve never proven they can do it. The Sox have played more big games in the last 4 years than the Rays have in…well, ever. Psychology’s immeasurable, intangible, and indisputably relevant in baseball. History’s littered with the carcasses of talented teams who tightened up thismuch when it mattered and lost – see 2003 Boston Red Sox and Little, Grady for a personally wrenching example. If the Rays can take 2 of 3 or better from the Sox, they add one more source of resolve to their arsenal come October. If the Sox win the series and draw even or ahead in the division, the whispers grow louder about Joe Maddon’s team and its lack of experience on the big stage.
So the next 3 days matter, then, even if they don’t.
Oh, and the last 4, well, it was hot where I live this weekend, and football was on, and…hey, look, a no-hitter!