Five Cuts: How the rested Rays silenced Red Sox Nation
1. Rays pitcher
"I'm of the opinion that he could throw his fastball 100 percent of the time and still win," Rays manager
"Keep attacking," Garza said of his game plan. "I was going to make those guys beat my fastball."
Garza found extra motivation in Game 3 because he had not pitched well in his ALDS start and because Boston pitcher
"All the talk was about how Lester was unhittable," Garza told reporters. "Sorry to say, guys: baseball is a humbling game. He obviously had center stage. I was pushed to the backdrop. But I like it when people want to overlook me or doubt me."
2. Boston DH
3. Great move by Maddon to give his team a full off day Sunday after the five hour, 27-minute ALCS Game 2, followed by midday travel from Tampa to Boston. (Maddon did not have the Rays fly out immediately after the game, as is the practice of most teams.) "Fresh minds and fresh bodies," Maddon said. "That's how we've approached it all year." Said outfielder
4. How is it that a young team with no playoff experience can roll into Fenway and calmly blow out the Red Sox in an ALCS game, with home runs by
By the way, that was not your usual Fenway Park playoff crowd in Game 3, and even before the Rays broke open the game. "To take Boston's 26th man out of it was huge," Garza said.
But really, Fenway never did have the right playoff buzz. Red Sox Nation has lost a bit of its edge. A major league baseball official, for instance, noted that the LDS ratings in Boston were down by double digits this year compared to last year (against the same team, the Angels). "It's like what happened in Atlanta with the Braves; they've gotten so used to winning they don't care as much until the World Series," the official said. Moreover, these 2008 Red Sox lack a distinct narrative to keep their fans hooked -- no curse to break, no threat from the Yankees, no big struggles to overcome, no Manny or assorted idiots . . . just the previously irrelevant Rays in the way.
5. Phillies GM