Stealing Signals: You Knew It Would Happen Like This

Red Sox 8, Rays 7 – Well, we’re headed back to Tampa, and do you know when I knew that would happen? As soon as David Ortiz’s homer left the yard in the 7th, I could tell that Boston would win the game. The Red Sox feed off of him; he is their center now. If he is slumping, so do the rest of the hitters in crucial situations. The Rays jumped out so far ahead with home runs from B.J. Upton, Carlos Pena, and Evan Longoria again, that we all figured that they were dead. Scott Kazmir pitched well and Daisuke Matsuzaka didn’t.

But the Red Sox rotate so much around Ortiz, and without Manny Ramirez around, that matters even more. Now, Boston believes it has a shot again, because they came back from unbelievable odds. Will that carry over into a Game 6 in Tampa? I can’t say for sure. I think it’s in the Rays’ favor: despite them being AL East champs and winning 97 games, they are still playing with house money. A worst-to-first makes any playoff appearance like that.

If they torch Josh Beckett early, it does become a question of whether Boston can summon it up two games in a row. I wouldn’t put it past them now, but Tampa is fully capable of rebounding.

(Self-promotional note: I’ll be live-blogging Game 6 at Awful Announcing on Saturday, and will do Game 7 instead of Seahawks-Bucs if necessary.)

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