Saturday, October 18, 2008

Rays Seem to Have Right Attitude After Terrible Loss

By JC De La Torre

Ask any Rays fan at the beginning of this series - hey, the Rays are going to split the first two games in St. Pete, then take 2 out of 3 in Boston, bringing it back home with two chances to finish it off at the Trop - would you take it? It would be a resounding yes. Yet, following the greatest collapse in ALCS history, the entire baseball world is asking - "How can the Rays come back from this?"

Its simple. Do what they've done all season and that's play one game at a time. The Rays didn't lose 5 games Thursday night - it was just one game. Sure, it was as gut-wrenching as they come, but it was still one loss - and the Rays are looking at it as such.

Here's what Carlos Pena told the St. Pete Times:

"We are extremely confident. 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."

That folks, is exactly the attitude the Rays need and what they've done all season. The Rays have suffered tough losses before and have rebounded with resounding victories. Win tonight, and the loss to Boston at Fenway is just an interesting stat that is melted away by the wild celebration that will begin in St. Pete.

James Shields told the St. Pete Times:

"They've got more pressure than we do. 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."

And that is the truth. The Red Sox are the defending champions. They've done it before. They're expected to take this supposedly crushed Rays team and swat them away on their way to another trip to the World Series. The Boston media expects it. The Boston faithful (if that's what you can call a crowd of which many bailed on in the seventh inning) expect it. The National media expect it. Once again, the Rays find that only their fans and their own team believe they can do it. That's pressure on the Red Sox, folks.

I truly believe the Rays will win Game 6 and head on to the World Series to face Philadelphia. However, if Boston wins Game 6....well...let's just say I'll be a bit concerned, because then the pressure switches. I don't think we'll need to worry about it.

GO RAYS! Finish the job!

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