BOSTON — Manager Joe Maddon is into music, wine, books and history.
In this case, though, not modern history, circa Boston 2004-07.
Whatever solace and support the Red Sox are finding in their previous comebacks from 3-0 (to the Yankees in 2004) and 3-1 (to the Indians last year) — "they could probably draw some strength knowing that they've done it before," Maddon allowed — he has no plans to gather his players before tonight's game to share a cautionary tale.
"That's something that's going to be talked about, but as far as we're concerned it shouldn't matter," Maddon said. "Our whole thing is about taking care of our own business every day, so to worry about history with a different group of people on both sides, to me there's no parallels to be drawn in this situation. I firmly believe that."
His beliefs are an extension of a philosophy he adopted after reading and talking with legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.
"For years they were pretty good, and one of the things he talks about is their practice," Maddon said. "A lot of times different teams focus on scouting reports and other teams and what they're doing, and he would to a certain extent, but he was always about focusing on what they did best and did well, and that's what you should focus on.
"When I read that … you're trying to simplify things. That made all the sense in the world to me. As opposed to us being worried about what the Red Sox may think or do, I would much prefer that we focus on our game plan and our planning, etc."
ROCCO ROCKING: Maddon is considering putting Rocco Baldelli in rightfield tonight instead of Gabe Gross against Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Gross is 0-for-6 in three ALCS games and struggling throughout the postseason, going 1-for-12 (.083) with five strikeouts. Baldelli is only slightly better (1-for-3 in the ALCS, 2-for-11 in the postseason), but Maddon likes his swing — though right-hander on right-hander — against Matsuzaka.
"Part of that would depend on how he's feeling," Maddon said. "Gabe's been off offensively a little bit. His defense is still very good, but recently the bat hasn't been the same for him."
UNFORTUNATE REST: After scoring 31 runs in winning three straight, the last thing the Rays wanted Wednesday was a day off. But TV rules, and Maddon encouraged the players to make the best of it.
"It would be nice to keep it going," Maddon said. "This was a day I don't think we needed the break obviously. Based on the events of the last couple days it would have been kinda nice, but we knew this coming in. … I didn't want to work out today, I wanted everyone to relax. We've been swinging the bat all year, we've been playing catch all year, we've been taking ground balls all year."
A handful of players showed up at Fenway anyway to work out or get treatment: pitchers Chad Bradford, Matt Garza, Trever Miller, David Price, James Shields and Dan Wheeler, and catchers John Jaso and Dioner Navarro.
MISCELLANY: 3B Evan Longoria has homered in three straight ALCS games, matching the record set by the Yankees' Bernie Williams in 2001. The LCS record is four, shared by Gary Matthews (Phillies, 1983-84), Jeffrey Leonard (Giants, 1987) and Carlos Beltran (Astros, 2004). … The Rays have 10 homers in four games; the ALCS record is 12 by the Red Sox in 2003 against the Yankees. … Longoria and B.J. Upton's combined 10 homers are fourth most for any teammates in the postseason; San Francisco's Barry Bonds and Rich Aurilia hit 14 in 2002.