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Photo Courtesy of USA Today
Conor Frederick (@ConorJF1016)
Contributing Writer

Last night, the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Cleveland Indians, leaving us with an all-AL East match up for the ALDS. Out of the two teams that played last night, the Rays are definitely the tougher match up for the Sox, but fear not, Red Sox Nation. This is a very winnable series, so sit tight and Uncle Conor will tell you why. Here are the 4 reasons (in no particular order) that the Sox will beat the Rays

1.) Home Field - The Red Sox have home field, and while it hasn't played out that way so far, at least in the AL, Fenway Park is a different animal all together. If Fenway comes anywhere near the noise levels of PNC Park did in the NL Playoff game, which it will, then that's a huge advantage for the Red Sox. Of course, it won't be as easy to get into the Rays' heads like Pirates fans did with Johnny Cueto because the Rays are more experienced, but it's an advantage because of the boost the Sox get from playing at home. Not to mention the Rays don't really have fans, so playing down in Tropicana Field will be easier than going to just about any other team we'll play if we get past the Rays.

2.) 12-7 - You can't put too much stock in what happened during the regular season, but playing a team that you beat 12 out of 19 times (6-3 at home, 6-4 at the Trop) gives the Red Sox a boost, I'm sure. It's hard to say how things will play out in the postseason, but winning a season series gives the edge confidence-wise to the team that won. Also, there's a familiarity factor involved with playing a division opponent. You know what to expect, and you know how to counter it. That works both ways, though.

3.) Many Different Threats - Look, this will be a pitchers series. The Rays pitching scares me, but the Red Sox have many different offensive weapons that could provide a spark. The biggest threat in Tampa's line up is Evan Longoria, whereas a big hit could come from anywhere in the Sox lineup. Mike Carp had that big extra inning grand slam against Tampa a few weeks ago. Jonny Gomes has come through with a number of walk offs, and Mike Napoli has come up with some big home runs. Not to mention David Ortiz. So a big hit could come from anywhere, whereas the Rays only have one real threat.

4.) Pitching - As scary as the pitching on Tampa Bay is, the Red Sox starting pitching staff can go toe-to-toe with the Rays. And Koji Uehara has been lights out as our closer, but the problem has been bridging the gap between the starters and Koji. Hopefully moving Ryan Dempster will be a good thing, because Dempster has not worked out as a starter. But, starter for starter, I think the Red Sox starters can pitch with the Rays while the offense works their magic.

What do you think? Let me know on Twitter or leave a comment.

Conor Frederick 10/03/2013 01:00:00 PM Edit
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