You Asked for It……….Fact or Fiction……………Rays Style
I have gotten more than a few comments and emails today wondering why I think the Rays have what it takes to move to the next step. Okay, I can give you the notion that we have not been there before and might not know how to act accordingly. I can also give you the fact that until we beat you……….you are still the World’s Champions.
But if we beat you tomorrow or Sunday, will you go quietly into the night, or will you just re-post up on Monday morning as Philadelphia Phillies fans just for the sake of arguments. Seriusly, Red Sox Nation-Southern Division, is it such a bad thing that the town(s) some of you now call home be in a World Series agianst someone else from the northern half of the US.
So, you really want me to throw a few stats and tidbits out towards your red carpet to prove we have what it takes to take down the Nation that is the Red Sox. I thought the noise from your crowd after the 1st inning until the bottom of the 7th inning would be enough to tell you my answer, but you want more………
Okay let’s start off easy and I promise not to bruise your ego too much when I make the facts plain and simple here.
Fact: Even if you beat us in the next 2 games, we have the prize that will eat you up inside until next Spring,..We have the American League East title. Think about it we own the division where you make your bread and butter this year, and that pisses you off. Get used to it, this is only the first test.
Fiction: You do not mind that we got the AL East as long as you return to the promise land and get your third title in 7 years. But there is a slight problem in that analogy friend, you have to beat us in a stadium where we are 24-3 aginast all comers, even the Red Sox. Secondly, you will be throwing 2 pitchers at us who were shell-shocked last time and might not be the total goods you think they are. So let’s take a look at the Post season ALCS stats on your next 2 starters:
Fact: Josh Beckett went 4.1 innings and gave up 9-hits and 8 Earned Runs in the Game 2 matchup against Scott Kazmir. That gives him a 16.62 ERA for the series. But let’s look at the positive for you………..He did get 5 strikeouts.
Fiction: That upon a return to the scene of the crime, his massacre at the Trop., Beckett will dig dsown deep and bring out the Red Sox pride and win in a thrilling game. That might happen, but the Rays bats’ are still hot, and the Rays leftie dominated lineup did not do too bad against him last time.
Fact: Jon Lester did start at home where he was a god and got rocked by the barrage going out of the park, But he is no Tim Wakefield. In the Game 3 matchup that was suppose to be out of sight and put you up 2-1 in the series, he went 5.2 innings and gave up 8-hits for 5 Earned Runs. That is better than Beckett, but still sets him up for a 6.35 ERA.
Fiction: The Rays hit Lester pretty good at the Trop this year in the regular season. Oh wait! he never faced tham at the Trop this season. But we did go against him mat Fenway this year in the regular season. Players like Willy Aybar went .333 against him, while Jason Bartlett batted .500 against Lester. Carlos Pena hit a homer, and got a double against him. And Dioner Navarro went 2 for 5, while Justin Ruggiano was 2 for 3, with 2 singles against him this year in Fenway Park.
Fact: Red Sox pitchers have given up a total of 13 homers in 5 games to the speedy Rays. They have also helped set the new ALCS by letting Evan Longoria homer in 4 straight games. Was that a gift to us, or was the guy just getting gopher pitches?
Fiction: A change of scenery to Tropicana Field will do the team good to get away from home and feed the hunger to beat the Rays in their home park. That during the first 2 games of the ALCS the Rays were out-pitched and out-hit by the Red Sox. the Rays have not hit alot of homers against us in the Trop this year……. only 11, with 38 RBIs, and that is not including the 3 homers and 9 RBI in the first 2 games at the Trop in the ALCS.
Fact: The Rays are 24-3 at home with a crowd over 30,000 fans in the seats, including Red Sox fans. They have opened an additional 5,700 seats to make the noise even more deafening to the visiting crowds. On top of that, in the 2008 season, including the ALCS, the Rays are 10-2 in the Trop. Only during the last series of the year against the Red Sox did the Rays drop their first game to them at home. And in the first game of the ALCS, the Rays came out flat and never recovered in time.
Fiction: The Trop. will be Fenway South with a majority of the fans supporting the current Worlds Champs in gear and in voice. Considering they might be louder down here than the crowd on their hands in Fenway Park, I might have to give you that one. They will be loud, and they will be crazy, but you forget that the main crowd will be sporting blue and white and they do not take the abuse anymore. It might be a more interesting night for the security and the St. Petersburg Police Department than for the normal fans.
Fact: With their backs against the wall before with 3-0 and 3-1 advantages against them the mighty Red Sox have conquered and went to the World Series. I will give you the fact that PAST Red Sox teams had a more intimidating style of play and the pitching had an extra notch or two, but this years club is not the 2004, or 2007 Red Sox Champion Club.
Fiction: The 2007 Red Sox pitching staff is superior to the Rays staff. I will give you that in the regular season, except we beat you 2 out of 3 with your best player, your closer on the mound for 1 of those games. Josh Beckett is a solid pitcher, but I think he is still reeling a bit with the elbow and is gutting it out for the team. Jon Lester is a force, but we have seen him and beaten him so he is not the force you want him to be here…sorry.
Fact: Last nights win by the Red Sox completely demoralized the Rays and they will be lucky to score 5 runs in the next game. The loss was the first time in MLB Playoff history that a team faced elimination with more than 6 runs and came back to win the contest.
Fiction: Before the Home Run by David Ortiz, he had gone 2 for 19, with both being extra base hits, that works out to a .105 average. Even if Big Papi is about to explode, who is to say that the Rays pitching staff will be pitching him outside and he will have to turn on the ball to even get a single. Secondly, there are 3 members of your team who are still batting .000, going 0-28 in the ALCS. That has got to hurt ………alot.
Just to throw a little something out there for you Red Sox fans, our batters combined are hitting .279 for the series, while you team is hitting a lowly .247 at this time. If you want to look for a postive on offense, you do have 3 more doubles than us this ALCS (11to8).
And on the mound, the Rays are throwing with a team ERA of 4.24 . And we have gotten 40 strikeouts as a team. Your squad has a ERA of 7.14, and has given up 51 hits in 46.2 innings this ALCS. And if you really want to get snappy, we have given up a total of 23 runs to your 38. Those 15 runs have made a difference in the series. And I will be nice and not mention the HR totals.
By the way, I just hit Stubhub.com for you Red Sox fans, and here are some of the prices for certain seats at the Trop. Please be sure to have cash, because scalpers dod not take American Express, Visa or Mastercards on the street corners:
Upper Deck: Currently the lowest is $ 82.50, but there is an auction in progress for the seats. the highest in the area is $ 287.00 at this time.
Club Level: Currently the lowest is $250.00, with the highest at $600. at this time.
Home Plate Club: The lowest is currently $ 1,350. and rising as high as $ 4,000. for the All You Can Eat and Drink section of the stadium.
Sections 102-132: The current lowest price for a ticket is in Section 128 in the VV row for $177 dollars. the highest is about 3,500 in Section 108, Row J.
Sections 134-138: The current asking low ball price is $ 155 dollars, with the highest going for $ 195 dollars in the Baseline Box area.
Outfield: The outfield in rightfield is showing a low price of $ 91 dollars in Section 148, to a high ball price of $ 951 dollars for the front row in Section 146.
The outfield in leftfield is showing a low price of $ 129 dollars in Section 145, to a high price of $ 380 for front row in Section 139 near the foul pole.
Above Red Sox Dugout: The price to sit in the sections right above the Red Sox Dugout are curently priced at $ 179 dollars for Section 113, Row QQ, to a high price of $ 1,296 dollars for a seat in Section 123 in Row E.
Beach Area: There is a small section still open, but it is Standing Room Omly in the Beach area going from $ 90-118 dollars a ticket. This area is right behind the Upper Deck Media Pod put in place for the extended Media needs of the MLB.
So there you go, big prices for big games. And just think, 65% of the poeple selling ticket on thses sites are Rays Season Ticketholder who got to purchase up to 4 extra tickets to every game this postseason. You might be making my car payment, or even putting my celebration budget a bit higher when you buy my tickets.
And with that, I hope you enjoy your visit to the Trop., and remember to tip your bartenders and waitresses accordingly at Ferg’s.