The Trop has been one nightmare after another for the Red Sox. Another collapse could let the Rays back in the wild-card race. The Rays players know how important this series is:
"I don't see how we can get to the playoffs without winning this series," Carl Crawford acknowledged. "Hopefully we can win the series — at least — and stay alive."
"We definitely have to get two from them," B.J. Upton said. "Three would be great. We definitely have to win the series."
On paper the pitching matchups favor the Red Sox who have Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz throwing in the series. But Lester is 0-2 with an ERA over 8 in three starts against the Rays this year and Beckett is 1-1 with a 5.50 ERA against them.
This series should tell us if the Red Sox are a team that can win pressure games and it will tell us if Beckett is OK. The Red Sox can have sweet dreams if they win the series, if not the Trop nightmare will only become scarier.