But Red Sox have more

FACEOFF

FACEOFF: Can the Tampa Bay Rays, last year's worst team, win the World Series?

October 08, 2008|By RICK MAESE

Go all the way? Sorry to break the news to you, Rays fans, but Tampa Bay's season won't extend beyond this Red Sox series. They're a great underdog story, but unfortunately, one that falls just short, like a long fly ball that dies at the warning track.

Who's going to beat Boston? Edwin Jackson? Matt Garza?

Forget about Daisuke Matsuzaka; the Sox boast Josh Beckett, one of the best postseason pitchers any of us will ever see. I can actually buy the argument that the young Rays are impervious to postseason pressure. But if you want to believe in youth, believe in Jon Lester, who won the final game of last year's World Series.

And if we look at the respective closers, we see Jonathan Papelbon, who has never allowed a run in 19 2/3 postseason innings, and Troy Percival, who wasn't on the division series roster because of back tightness and has logged just 4 1/3 innings in the past month.

I keep hearing how the Rays were 10-8 against Boston this season, which doesn't mean a whole lot. After all, the Angels were 8-1 vs. the Sox and where are they now?

The Rays were a great regular-season team and continue to be a fun little story. But their season is about to end at the hands of a team that has been built specifically for October.

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