BOSTON -- It's a gray, cool, drizzly afternoon at Fenway Park, a not-so-perfect backdrop to the first ALCS game at Fenway Park since the Red Sox pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in postseason baseball history.
Trailing the Rays 3 games to 1, the Sox found themselves in a 7-0 hole heading into the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 5 of the 2008 ALCS on Oct. 16. But they got an RBI single from Dustin Pedroia and a three-run homer from David Ortiz in the seventh to pull to 7-4; a two-run homer from J.D. Drew and an RBI single from Coco Crisp in the eighth to tie the game, and an RBI single from Drew in the bottom of the ninth -- capping a rally that started with no one on and two outs -- to win it, 8-7. The Sox would win Game 6 at The Trop before losing Game 7, 3-1.
The Game 5 comeback was the largest ever in the postseason by a team on the verge of elimination, and the second-largest overall. The Philadelphia Athletics scored 10 runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, erasing an 8-0 deficit, and defeated the Cubs, 10-8, in Game 4 of the 1929 World Series.
Back to the present . . . here are some notes from the Red Sox' P.R. department as we await batting practice:
-- The Red Sox are in the ALCS for the first time since 2008 and the 10th time in team history since the start of divisional play in 1969.
-- This is the fifth time that the Red Sox have reached the ALCS since 2003 ('03, '04, '07, '08, '13), tying the Yankees for the most ALCS appearances in that 11-year span.
-- Each of Boston’s last four ALCS appearances since 2003 have gone seven games.
-- The Sox are 17-13 all-time in the opening game of a postseason series (8-5 at home). They have won six of their last seven series openers in the postseason, starting with the 2007 ALDS. In Game 1 of an ALCS, the Red Sox are 4-5 (2-3 at home), but have taken three of their last four.
-- Jon Lester will start Game 1 of a postseason series for the fourth time in his career, passing Josh Beckett, Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez (three each) for the most Game 1 starts in team history. Lester is 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA in his three career Game 1 starts.