BOSTON -- How crucial is today's game to the Tampa Bay Rays?
Well, in MLB history, 24 teams have fallen behind 0-2 in best-of-five series. Only one -- the 2003 Red Sox, against Oakland -- have come back to win.
So it heartens them that David Price is on the mound today.
Price, the 2012 A.L. Cy Young Award winner, has a 6-1 career record in 10 games at Fenway Park, with a 1.88 ERA. He was 2-0 in three starts against the Sox at Fenway this year, holding them to three runs -- all on solo homers -- in 22 1/3 innings. He even has a history of postseason success against Boston, having thrown 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief against them in the 2008 ALCS.
No wonder the Rays, almost to a man, mentioned Price as they attempted to lick their wounds after the 12-2 drubbing they took Friday in Game 1.
"I don't know, man," Price said Friday when asked about his domination of Boston. "It's just pitching against the Red Sox or pitching against a team like the Yankees, you know the history behind those franchises. You know what they're capable of doing. Every single year, year in, year out . . . they're going to be a postseason team, and you know you're going to have to come with your best. If you come with your 'B' game, 'B‑plus' game, you have a pretty good chance to lose . . .
"Pitching in this ballpark, pitching against that team it makes you want it just a little bit more."
If the Red Sox are looking for hope, it's this: In three career playoff starts, Price is 0-3 with a 4.66 ERA. However, all three of those starts came against Texas . . . and he posted a complete-game win over the Rangers in the playoff for the second-wild card spot -- which was technically the 163rd regular-season game and not a postseason game -- on Monday.
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Headed in the opposite direction: The Red Sox' Game 2 starter, John Lackey. He had a 5.33 ERA over his last four starts, and has a ghastly 7.11 ERA in his last six starts against the Rays.