Friday, October 17, 2008

Don't Panic

Gary Shelton of the St. Petersburg Times will not be shaken by last night's debacle:
The Rays lost a devastating game Thursday night, 8-7. They didn't lose anything else. They did not lose momentum, they did not lose their confidence, and they did not lose their grip on the ALCS. Saturday night, Sunday at the latest, they will close out this thing. Just you watch . . .

. . . Remember that early series in Boston, when both Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena were injured as the Sox swept easily? At the time, it felt like the big kids were getting out of school. Turns out, it was no more of a problem than a missed freeway exit. Remember that seven-game losing streak just before the All-Star game? That felt like the party was over, too. Looking back, it was just like a brownout in an electrical storm. Nothing to worry about.

Remember the mid September showdown, when first place was there for the taking? Boston won the first game of the series to pull into a virtual tie for the AL East, and you could hear talk that the Rays might have to settle for the wild-card, after all. Then the Rays won the next two games and ended up winning the AL East. All season, it has been that way. Tampa Bay keeps removing doubts. Such is their personality. They are such a loose bunch that, at times, you wonder if they are aware of the stakes for which they are playing. They have the gift of amnesia.

From what I've seen he has a point. There were at least three times during the season when I wrote off the Rays, figuring that the time had finally come for their inevitable collapse. A couple of those times came after losses to the Red Sox who, then as now, were running upon them from behind. The Rays didn't crumble then. Maybe that's because they didn't know any better. Maybe that's because the whole notion that momentum exists one way or the other is hogwash in the first place.

If I were a Rays' fan, I'd feel pretty sick this morning. But I wouldn't fell worried. There are at least two games left, both of them in St. Pete, both of them with pitching matchups which should favor the Rays. I like their chances to win one of those games.


Jason @ IIATMS said...

tighten the sphynchter on my count: three...two...ONE!

Alex said...

Here's a remarkable quote by Carlos Pena after last night's game:
"You have to get 27 outs for the game to be over. ... Everyone in baseball knows this. This is why the game of baseball is so beautiful. There is no time limit."
Rather than kick and sulk (and after that GIDP in the 9th!) he says, "Isn't this game great?" That is a tremendous attitude, and I think it shows how this team can keep winning after being knocked down and doubted so often.

RoyceTheBaseballHack said...

Two things:
1) I never had much regard for Pena before the playoffs started this year. I didn't not like him, but he was just a kind of benign figure in the game to me. However, that gentleman's stock has shot into the stratosphere in my eyes in the last month.
2) In a purely selfish gesture of emotion on my part, and already crying for a salve to soothe the rash the NFL brings on in me, (..Honey..I think it's hives, or something...!!..), I have to confess that my first reaction to seeing that ball hit the ground in the bottom of the ninth was, "Baseball this weekend..yes!".

Anonymous said...


In the front of my mind I had Tampa losing last night v. Dice-K, so having them finish the job in Florida is all the more fitting.

Still, one more game for the Sox legend. After the game, my buddy who was there texted me some unintelligible thing, along the lines of "OMG, OMG, OMG!!" I think he got his money's worth.

You cannot match the drama of baseball, the way it builds within a season, within a series, and within a game.

Rob said...

Beckett's been knocked around and Lester didn't impress in Game 3, but I'm not sure I'd say that the pitching matchups favor the Rays this weekend.