BOSTON -- Joe Maddon thought his team got "out-Fenwayed" and that the Rays' 7-4 loss to the Red Sox in Game 2 of the ALDS was "kind of awkward." In fact, he was doing what people who are resigned to losing often do: Blaming the fates, shrugging his shoulders, saying "everything [was] set up for them and against us."
But just when you thought he was ready to concede the series, he came out with this:
"I'm really looking forward to Game 5 here."
And in case you missed it, he added after the next question: "We've been in this boat in the past and we've forced Game 5's in those situations, also. So Boston this time of the year is kind of lovely, and I'm looking forward to coming back in a few days."
Shades of Kevin Millar.
Millar, in case you've forgotten, told anyone who would listen prior to the Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees -- when, of course, the Red Sox were trailing 0-3 -- that the Yankees could not "let us win tonight. Just don't let us win tonight. Because if we win tonight, they get [Pedro Martinez] in Game 5, [Curt Schilling] in Game 6, and anything can happen in Game 7."
You all know how that one came out. Now Maddon is laying out a similar scenario.
"We just went through a week of backs against the wall, so it's not new to us," he said. "It's going to be difficult. There's no question it's going to be difficult. We have to go home, and Alex [Cobb], fortunately he's pitching that Game 3 for us. We'll have to fight through Game 4. [Jeremy] Hellickson will be pitching that to get back here for Game 5, but I don't think it's impossible by any means."
(Love the way, incidentally, how Maddon just assumes Cobb will beat Clay Buchholz in Game 3.)
So is he predicting the future? Or whistling in the dark?
We shall see.