After both losses in Boston, where we saw the Rays make errors they never made during the season, and Matt Moore and David Price pitch like it was Red Sox batting practice, the only explanation offered by Joe Maddon and Rays players was “The Red Sox played better today.”
Those explanations didn’t really explain anything. I saw the games. I know the Red Sox played better than the Rays. What I want to hear as a fan is why the Rays played poorly, and what adjustments the team planned to make to help them win. Catching easy flies and not hitting into so many double plays would be a good start.
The Rays may not need to make many adjustments tonight at home. They have played well in must-win situations this year. They’re back in the Trop, which should help. Alex Cobb pitches, and while he hasn’t pitched well against the Sox he has been the Rays best pitcher this year, when healthy.
The Red Sox are a good team playing well. The Rays need to be at the top of their game to beat them. Even if they win tonight the Rays still need to win three in a row to get to the next round. That looks tough on paper. That’s why they play the games, though. Games aren’t won by statistics–they’re won on the field by the team that plays smarter, hustles, and benefits from a little luck.
It’s time for the Rays to start playing like they’re capable of playing, and truly test which team is better. After two disappointing games, expect the Rays to win tonight.