MLB Playoffs: 5 Things Boston Red Sox Must Do To Beat Tampa Bay Rays
These Are Five Things Boston Must Do To Beat Tampa Bay
So, we know who the Boston Red Sox will be facing in their ALDS matchup. It will be the team that they are very familiar with and perhaps arguably their biggest rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays. This writer and fan was hoping that either the Texas Rangers or Cleveland Indians would take care of the Rays in their elimination games because Tampa matches up extremely well with Boston. This is one scary team because they play so well. Great starting pitching, outstanding defense and timely hitting make this team anything but a walk in the park.
Boston can attack their opponents a lot of different ways. Strong quality starting pitchers and an offense that loves to grind at-bats, tire pitchers and work counts. They also have deceptive speed and perhaps the hottest closer in the MLB over the last few months.
Here is the problem. Both these teams know each other very, very well and that may not be a good thing. They know each others' tendencies and strategies having played in the same division. Think of how Boston seemed to be the one team that could do anything against the great Mariano Rivera. One of the reasons for that was because they faced him so much in a given season and became very familiar with how he threw. Because Tampa Bay knows Boston that well, the Red Sox must find the best ways to beat their opponent. Here are five things that the Red Sox must do to beat the Rays. Again, it is a Friday Night Five Slideshow and it's coming at you right now.
5. Figure Out This Guy
Matt Moore pitched a two-hit shutout against the Red Sox in July. It was probably the best game pitched against them this year. He does have command issues as well as high pitch counts. Boston needs to wait him out and be patient, not aggressive. That can be a key to getting to Moore.
4. DEFINETLY, figure out this guy
Catch David Price on an off-day and maybe use their running game. That might be one of the few ways to stop him right now. He is one of the best in the business. He is experienced and competitive and can adjust what he is doing during the course of a game. This might be an instance where Boston needs to utilize their base-stealing ability. They have a few players who use the element of surprise to steal a base and perhaps that can be used to get to Price.
3. Be Aggressive On the Basepaths
Speaking of stolen bases, this is a quality that Boston has that can be very valuable. Offense is harder to come by in the postseason, so every run matters. A stolen base can help manufacture a run without a lot of offense and especially against Tampa Bay's quality starting pitchers. The Red Sox need to be aggressive on the base paths and create something. It's hard to believe Boston, who historically have been a slow team, actually has speed as a weapon.
2. Relievers Need To Get The Ball To Uehara
Getting quality middle relief to get to Koji Uehara. He may have had the best season that Boston has seen from a closer in a long time. This isn't the case, but it feels like he is automatic every time he comes out there. Boston needs to have that same lock-down feeling in the seventh and eighth innings and shorten games. Hopefully someone like Junichi Tazawa or Franklin Morales can be that bridge.
1. The Starting Pitching Rotation Needs To Pitch Well As Much As Possible
Quite simply, good pitching always beats out good hitting. The Red Sox need to have their starting pitchers throw well, make quality pitches and go as deep into ballgames as they can. They have the veteran experience in the postseason. Hopefully, this can carry them through to a deep October run.
There you have it. Those are five things Boston needs to do to beat Tampa Bay. If not, Boston may be in and out of the postseason pretty quickly.