It's hard to believe that the Rays had a 7-0 lead and were within seven outs of the World Series....only two games ago. Now most of the national media seems to think that the Red Sox will pull off one of their patented post-season series comebacks. And, if such a thing as momentum exists in the post-season, the Red Sox have it.
Here is an interesting aspect to tonight's game: the championship clincher won't be decided by either of the team's aces. Frequently these Game 7 tests involve at least one team setting up their rotation schedule so that the team's ace gets the deciding game. In this game, two young, talented pitchers from the middle of each team's rotation will take the hill.
Matt Garza vs. Jon Lester. Assuming that the game doesn't turn into a scoring marathon, the liklihood is that one of these two young pitchers will make a name for himself as a big game pitcher. When a young starter clinches the championship, reputations are made. Yahoo's Jeff Passan poses this as Mr. Composed (Lester) versus Mr. Combustible (Garza). However, either pitcher might shed that label for a new one, depending on what happens in this game.
I notice that the Ray's manager has come under fire for assuming, after losing that 7-0 lead earlier, that his team will still get to the World Series. That seems silly to me. What is he supposed to say to his team, "oh, we don't have a chance now?" He is doing what any manager would do, that is, show confidence in his team. It is as if he is expected to follow the media's story line for this series.
What do you think each team needs to do to win this series? At this point, my answer seems to be, "the team which can play the best fundamental baseball." Not exactly going out on a limb. My only other observation is that the Rays' manager may need to do a better job of managing his bullpen.
If you have a take on this question, tell us now.