One such change would be showing an ability to do exactly what their counterparts have been doing for two games. By that, I mean slide in hard, try to break up a potential play and if someone’s injured, who cares? The Red Sox sure don’t, as proven in Game 2 when Shane Victorino‘s hard, feet-first slide flipped Ben Zobrist. Yes, the Rays’ second baseman escaped injury, but it’s evident he was affected.
Now, the Rays must take a page out of Boston’s book. Just go out there, be aggressive and hope to get into their head. Even if that doesn’t happen, opponents will realize this team plans to fight for everything, and they’ll probably receive respect as a result .
Can this team do that? While the Rays haven’t played that way so far in 2013, it’s become a must. Tampa Bay’s playoff hopes, not to mention legacy, depend on how they handle the rest of this series. Will they go down with a whimper, thus losing all respect from the national media among others, or will they claw their way back into things? Those are the biggest questions facing them moving forward.
As much as I usually frown upon intentionally taking an opponent out, it’s become quite clear that it may be the only way for Tampa Bay to get back into this series. So why not try? The Rays’ playoff lives largely depends upon making their presence felt on the basepaths.