Sunday, March 9, 2014
ST. PETERSBURG — The last time I watched a celebration at Tropicana Field, it was the home team piling onto each other. Meanwhile, the visitors clubhouse could not have cleared out faster. That was the 2008 ALCS.
Tuesday night (into Wednesday morning), the visitors clubhouse was covered in plastic. It didn’t take long for the champagne spray to cover anyone who dared to enter.
Red Sox 3, Rays 1 (the score in Tuesday’s game and in the ALDS). For a recap of the game, see our story.
Two celebrations down (the AL East and now the ALDS).
Two to go.
“For me this is uncharted territory,” said reliever Craig Breslow, pitching in the playoffs for the first time. “Every win we get I’m going to relish, understanding we have an ultimate goal in mind.”
Breslow stood, goggles on his head, and drenched in champagne.
Across the way, the Rays clubhouse was quiet, as you would expect. Tampa Bay had prevailed in four previous elimination games, including Monday’s walk-off victory.
“With 90-plus (wins), it’s been a pretty good year,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Maddon knew he was going to use a lot of pitchers Tuesday. He did not plan on nine. He had hoped starter Jeremy Hellickson would last as long as four innings. But he didn’t record an out in the second for Maddon pulled him.
“I could see it was not going to work and we had to do it differently,” Maddon said.
Red Sox manager John Farrell did things differently. Before the game, he talked of not using Xander Bogaerts to pinch-hit for Stephen Drew against tough left-hander Jake McGee in a situation on Monday. See today’s notebook.
On Tuesday, Farrell sent Bogaerts in to pinch-hit for Drew, against McGee.
“I reserve the right to change my mind,” Farrell said. He also said Drew’s at-bat against McGee Monday (he popped out to third) played a factor.
Bogaerts walked and scored the tying run. He later score the insurance run. Bogaerts also pinch-ran Monday and scored. He has been on base three times in these playoffs. The result: three runs.
Now Boston waits to see who they play in the ALCS. Detroit or Oakland.
Stay tuned. And enjoy (see today’s column)
Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases
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