Tampa Bay Rays

Rays-Red Sox: ALCS Game Three Fan Reaction and Game Four Preview

Ben WeixlmannSenior Writer IOctober 14, 2008

Who would have thought it could happen? Clearly not anyone in Boston, and most certainly only a select few from the Tampa Bay area.

Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lester was nearly untouchable in his previous 12 starts at Fenway Park before imploding in last night's game.

Honestly, even though I'm writing this as a Rays advocate, the home plate umpire had one of the most liberal strike zones I have seen in the playoffs, which invariably gave an edge to Rays upstart Matt Garza.

Garza did a good job of "painting the corners," albeit missing the black several times and still getting a strike three call. It wasn't just Garza or the home plate umpire's fault, though; the Rays' offense was dominant.

In the top half of the third inning, B.J. Upton sent a towering shot over the Green Monster to break the game wide open, and Longoria followed with a long ball of his own.

What do I take from this game? Here's a couple things:


1. The Red Sox Must Hope That Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield Has His Best Stuff Tonight

Against this lineup with Longoria and Upton, one missed pitch will likely end up in the seats, accompanied by a long string of boos.

 

2. The Rays Have to Realize That This Series Is Far from Over

If the Red Sox win Game Four tonight, the series is tied and up for grabs. Don't get me wrong, I think the Rays have the advantage now. But don't be surprised to see that window of opportunity get shut after tonight's ballgame.

 

3. The Rays Must Continue Their Aggressive Plate Behavior

It will put the Rays' hitters off-kilter for a couple of innings, but Wakefield's knuckler is accessible if the hitters wait out long enough. Patience is the key tonight!

 

Prediction: Red Sox 6, Rays 4

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