Fenway Park is playing host to postseason baseball for the first time in four years. But all we're guaranteed is three games, and only two at home. If they want any more--if they want to turn an MLB-best regular season into a major chapter in Red Sox history in-and-of-itself, they'll have to win.
One game at a time, though. First up: Jon Lester vs. Matt Moore.
The big question today will be whether the layoff has cooled off Boston's bats any. They saw live, in-game pitching just as recently as the Rays, but that was in an intra-squad game, which certainly isn't quite the same as the win-or-go-home fun that Tampa has been having recently. The offense is Boston's big advantage in the series, so having it take any sort of a hit based on the Wild Card gap would be a hit to take.
On the other hand, if the Rays have had some time off, they've been getting it while travelling from Toronto to Texas to Cleveland and now to Boston, and always with the stress of being up against the wall. That's something the Red Sox haven't had to deal with yet this year, frankly. They haven't even had truly meaningful games in better than a week.
There's a million ways to look at this game, the circumstances surrounding it, and come to a different conclusion about who it favors. None of those predictions will matter a bit once these games are actually underway. It's time to stop looking forward to the playoffs. They're here.