Two games of the American League Division Series, two disasters. The Tampa Bay Rays entered their series against the Boston Red Sox red-hot and then ran into a wall, putting their season just one loss away from its conclusion. One reason for optimism, though, is that this story has happened before and we know how it ends.
It was just last week that the Rays came into Toronto having won seven games in a row. Then they proceeded to lose two straight demoralizing contests, going from first in the Wild Card to the verge of the biggest collapse in team history. But then they came back to beat the Blue Jays, taking a 7-0 lead before winning 7-6. Then they faced another win-or-go-home game in the tiebreaker versus Rangers, winning that one 5-2 behind a complete game from David Price. And finally, they beat the Indians 4-0 in the AL Wild Card Game to win their third straight must-win game and advance to the ALDS. The Rays were just in the same exact situation that they were right now, and they came through. It is going to be tough to fulfill the feat twice, but they know for a fact that they are capable of doing it.
In Game 162 against the Blue Jays, the Rays finished the game in the most nerve-wracking way possible, struggling through collapses by Matt Moore, Joel Peralta, and even Fernando Rodney as they held on by the slimmest of margins. But they won, and that was all that mattered. After how badly the last two games have gone, the Rays just need to find a win and everything will be reset. Elimination games are a challenge this team is familiar with and the Red Sox even more so. If the Rays can come away with a victory in Game 3, the stage could be set for another resurgence. One win guarantees nothing but could get it all started. Can the Rays give themselves a chance?