video thumbnail

TB@BOS Gm2: Price, Lackey get the ball in Game 2

The Red Sox and Rays added yet another chapter to their playoff history in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, as Boston cruised to a 12-2 victory. With both teams returning to action at 5:30 p.m. ET on TBS on Saturday, Game 2 is as close to do-or-die for the Rays as you can get at this juncture.

Just don't tell that to the Red Sox, who are still of the mindset that they are the underdogs and will take to the field on Saturday hoping to follow up on an outstanding offensive effort.

"You've truly got to play like your back is against the wall every single game," said Red Sox left fielder Jonny Gomes, who delivered a key two-run double in the fourth inning. "We talked about it earlier with momentum in the playoffs, and that pretty much is what wins games, is momentum. We can't take our foot off the gas pedal."

Consider this: Teams have gone up 2-0 in the ALDS 22 times and advanced in 18 of them. For a Rays team that looked all out of luck in a dismal series-opening contest marred by ineffective starting pitching and shaky defense, that's odds they don't want to be going up against.

"I've also learned one other thing, or main thing regarding baseball: Twenty-four hours can make a huge difference," said Rays manager Joe Maddon, whose club won three consecutive elimination games in three different cities just to get to this series. "That's just one game, baby. That's just one. We'll be back tomorrow, I promise you. We'll be ready to play. We will not be affected mentally by tonight's game.

"So it happens once in a while. Normally when it happens during the regular season, I just say throw that one in the garbage can. And being that's the first of five, let's do the same thing now."

The Rays will next turn to ace David Price, who admitted on Friday he gets even more amped up when facing the Red Sox and Yankees, with their season hanging in the balance. That's a familiar spot for Price, who pitched a complete-game in Arlington earlier this week and has never been one to shy away from the bright lights.

"I really believe that with him, what he did in Texas a couple of nights ago, is really going to benefit him as a Major League pitcher now and in the future," Maddon said of Price, who is 6-1 with a 1.88 ERA and two complete games in 10 starts at Fenway Park. "If there's any mental hurdles to overcome, he overcame them on that specific night.

"I'm really eager to see his next performance, because I think it's going to be as good as he can be based on what he's done, where his confidence is right now and this time of the year. He's very jacked up about this whole thing."

Red Sox starter John Lackey figures to be as well. Asked if it will be tough to keep calm in such an important postseason atmosphere, Lackey said, "No, I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be fired up. It's part of the way it is. That's part of the reason I'm still pitching."

Lackey is 12-7 with a 4.39 ERA in 21 games started against Tampa Bay over his career, but he's been exceptional at Fenway Park this season, going 6-3 with a 2.47 ERA in 13 games.

"Every game's big," said second baseman Dustin Pedroia, as the Red Sox shift their gaze to Saturday. "Every pitch is big. That's what the playoffs are all about. One pitch can change everything."

Rays: Hellickson slated for potential Game 4 start
Struggling starter Jeremy Hellickson was added to the postseason roster and will start Game 4, if necessary.

Maddon said the assignment could change if Hellickson has to work in relief before then, but for now, Hellickson is set to start on Tuesday. Maddon picked Hellickson over Chris Archer because of "little esoteric stuff" regarding the way Hellickson matches up with Boston's lineup. Hellickson has made three solid starts against the Red Sox this year, going 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA and 20 strikeouts over 18 1/3 innings.

Red Sox: Doubront transitions into bullpen role
Boston added Felix Doubront to their ALDS roster, and the lefty will work out of the bullpen, a role he initially wasn't thrilled about. But an end-of-season talk with Red Sox manager John Farrell helped ease the transition.

"We looked at Felix's ability to give us multiple innings," said Farrell. "If we were to get in a situation where it was a lengthy rain delay and we need multiple innings to start back up. ... It was more the ability to go multiple innings and a guy who has had a very good year for us."

Worth noting
• The Red Sox put on a touching on-field tribute to the victims, heroes and first responders of April's Boston Marathon tragedy prior to Friday's game.

• All starting nine batters in Boston's lineup Friday recorded at least one hit and run scored, which is just the third time in baseball postseason history that any team has done that. The last time it was done? The 1936 Yankees.

• The two clubs are tied 4-4 all-time in postseason play.

• Tampa Bay's four hits in Game 1 marked its fewest in a playoff game since being held to two hits in Game 2 of the 2010 ALDS versus Texas.

MLB.com Comments