Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays: ALCS Game 5 loss to Red Sox is forgotten

James Shields prepares for his start in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series, the first of two chances at home the Rays have to advance to the World Series.


James Shields prepares for his start in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series, the first of two chances at home the Rays have to advance to the World Series.

ST. PETERSBURG — The route was not the one they would have chosen given the frustration of seeing their first World Series berth slip away and their role Thursday as co-conspirators to the largest comeback in a postseason elimination game in baseball history.

But the destination is still definitely the preferred one as the Rays returned to Tropicana Field holding a 3-2 lead over the Red Sox and have the well-earned advantage of the final two games of the AL Championship Series at their homefield.

"Everyone's glomming onto the fact that we lost that game (Thursday) night and how we did, which we shouldn't have," manager Joe Maddon said Friday during some bleary-eyed media availability. "It should not have happened that way. But we still won two out of three and maintained homecourt advantage.

"It's working out in a sense the way we had planned it. Now we just have to go out and execute it."

The Rays, who had the majors' best home record, are trying to make it that simple.

They have two chances (starting tonight with James Shields on the mound against Josh Beckett) to get the one win they need to vanquish the defending champions and advance to the Series, which would open Wednesday at the Trop against the Phillies.

But first they have to get past what happened Thursday, when they had a 7-0 lead with seven outs to go and through a series of mess-ups and mistakes ended up losing 8-7 on J.D. Drew's walkoff single with two outs in the ninth.

Maddon insisted the players were fine after the game and found further proof in how normal they acted on the flight home, noting J.P. Howell's giggle, Carlos Pena's constant chatter and smile and how Carl Crawford "sashayed" down the aisle.

"I would be surprised if there is any hangover from it," Maddon said. "I really would."

The Rays have showed their resiliency throughout the season, rebounding from tough losses with resounding performances. Pena said he expects nothing less because they'll make nothing more of this loss than any others.

"We are extremely confident," he said. "I think the perception is that (Thursday's) game is worth five losses when in reality it is just one.

"If it would have been a tight game — 3-2, we had a guy at second and just couldn't get that hit — we would have been like, 'It's a loss.' It would have been worth exactly the same. So the only difference is the way we're perceiving this. We can either perceive it as a loss that was monumental and you can't ever recover from a coma. Or it's just a loss. We've lost before. We didn't go 162-0. We've got 65 losses.

"We choose to just scratch it off as a loss and look at this trip as a very successful trip because we took two out of three in Boston. When in reality, I think people were more like, 'I just hope they win one so they can bring it back to the Trop.' So not only are we back here, but we're here with a slight advantage."

In the obligatory assignment of the intangibles, the Red Sox, who came back from a 3-1 deficit against the Indians last season and 3-0 against the Yankees in 2004, certainly have the momentum. But they also still bear the pressure.

"They've got more pressure than we do," Shields said. "They're the defending champions. We're not. We were in last place in the league last year, and to get where we're at right now, we don't have as much pressure as they do."

Boston designated hitter/team psychologist David Ortiz agreed.

"It's on us because we're down," he said. "If they win one game, it's over. Got to come in and play."

The Rays wanted to end the series at Fenway, and they want just as badly to end it tonight, knowing they need to keep the Sox from getting any more confidence and press their advantage at the Trop.

"I think it's a very big deal," reliever Dan Wheeler said. "Homefield, we worked hard all year to get to this point, and it's huge to have Games 6 and 7 here.

"Hopefully, it's just Game 6."

Marc Topkin can be reached at


American League

Championship Series

Oct. 10: Red Sox 2, Rays 0

oct. 11: Rays 9, Red Sox 8 (11)

monday: Rays 9, Red Sox 1

tuesday: Rays 13, Red Sox 4

thursday: Red Sox 8, Rays 7

tonight: at Tampa Bay, 8:07

sunday: at Tampa Bay, 8:07 *

* If necessary

All games on TBS

Rays: ALCS Game 5 loss to Red Sox is forgotten 10/17/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 20, 2008 5:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    It was refreshing to see RHP Jacob Faria take the blame after the loss even though he gave the Rays a chance to win. Too often young pitchers are encouraged by what they did and not necessarily the outcome, but Faria, making just his fourth big-league start, came to the Trop to win, didn't, and pointed the finger …

  2. Celtics legend Bill Russell discusses Red Auerbach, today's players and more


    There are decorated athletes, and then there is Bill Russell.

    Celtics center Bill Russell and coach Red Auerbach had many happy moments together.
  3. Women baseball players pay tribute to "A League of Their Own"

    The Heater

    TAMPA — In 1948, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League drew more than 900,000 spectators.

    Members of the New England Red Sox gather before taking the field against the East Coast Yankees in Tampa. The Red Sox won 10-7.
  4. Rays Tales: 10 smart decisions that helped the Rays get where they are

    The Heater

    The Rays this week will reach the midpoint of their season and, all things considered, it hasn't been half bad. To have logged 40 wins in 77 games without a pitch being thrown by two guys expected to play key bullpen roles in Brad Boxberger and Shawn Tolleson, without an at-bat by starting SS Matt …

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
  5. Rays vs. Orioles, 1:10 p.m. Sunday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Today: vs. Orioles

    1:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Pitcher Jake Odorizzi #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait at Charlotte Sports Park during photo day on February 26, 2014 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)