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Open Thread - ALCS Game Five

Are the Rays going to the World Series?

That's the question on everyone's mind tonight as all of baseball (minus one Red Sox Nation) roots for Tampa Bay, as FOX tries desperately to bribe the Rays into waiting just one more year.

I have heard a lot of comments about how people won't watch a Rays/Phillies WS, and quite frankly, I'm tired of them. Why shouldn't "lesser cities" get to be thrilled that their team made it, and why don't they deserve an audience too?

It's the outcome I want, because I'm tired of the Red Sox. I want Tampa Bay to win tonight and go to the World Series.

However (and it's a big one), nothing is set in stone. Ask the Yankees how they felt about their WS chances up 3-0, and ask Cleveland how they felt about their 3-1 lead last year! Despite two absolutely dominating games in Boston so far, Tampa Bay hasn't won anything yet. There is still one win to go, and the sooner the better.

The Rays send Scott Kazmir to the mound tonight, to a chorus of mixed reviews, since--how do you put this kindly--he's been terrible. Kazmir has only one start over six innings since June 7th; he's prone to throw a lot of pitches, and already this series, he's been lucky that his team bailed him out in Game 2, winning 9-8 in an all-out slugfest in Tampa Bay. Not to mention, in his three starts against Boston since Sept 1, his line looks like this: 13 1/3 IP, 16 ER, 27 walks+hits, 8 HR.

The Rays offense will be matched up against Dice K Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston's ace, who sure puts a lot of men on base, but somehow doesn't let them score. I'd say he was more lucky than good, but at what point does it stop being luck and start being actual skill? Dice K owns the only series win for the Red Sox; a gem in Game 1 of the series, going 7+, and allowing almost nothing to the powerful Rays' lineup.

Grab your popcorn and settle down tonight--it's going to be a doozy!



Tampa Bay Rays @ Boston Red Sox

10/16/08 5:07 PM PDT

Tampa Bay Rays Boston Red Sox
Akinori Iwamura - 2B Coco Crisp - CF
B.J. Upton - CF Dustin Pedroia - 2B
Carlos Pena - 1B David Ortiz - DH
Evan Longoria - 3B Kevin Youkilis - 3B
Carl Crawford - LF Jason Bay - LF
Cliff Floyd - DH J.D. Drew - RF
Dioner Navarro - C Jed Lowrie - SS
Gabe Gross - RF Jason Varitek - C
Jason Bartlett - SS Mark Kotsay - 1B