Here's my keys to the series ..
(1) Big Papi needs at least 2 clutch hits .. we need to see Papi return to 2004 form at least for a couple at bats! We also need more out of Pedroia (we'll call that key 1A) .. combined, Ortiz and Dustin batted just .147 with 1 RBI a piece .. that won't get it done this time around ..
(2) Be aggressive and steal bases on Tampa .. they allowed the 5th FEWEST stolen bases in the American League (despite being loaded with young pitching) .. Ellsbury and company can't let that stop them!
(3) Win tonight .. I know it's pretty basic, but jumping on a team can be huge .. on the other hand, the Sox of the recent past have proven they can get down and not let it bother them (see 03 vs Oakland, 04 vs Yankees, 07 vs Indians) .. However, this Rays team is solid and despite everyone I've read or heard from, they never collapsed or seemed to feel the pressure of being the #1 team in baseball .. so .. Just win. Tonight. Now.
(4) Don't give them extra outs .. The Rays are an opportunistic team .. make a few errors, botch a double play ball, etc .. they'll make you pay .. so play solid D .. make the plays you're supposed to make, and Ellsbury needs to make a diving catch or 2 .. In other words, continue doing what you did against the Angels (the Sox played flawless after the Lowrie error in game 1 against LAA)
(5) Be thankful Troy Percival is not on the roster .. No, not that I think Percival is untouchable, but it forced the Rays to move Dan Wheeler to the back end of the bullpen - shortening their strong pen up a bit .. they had 4 guys in their pen who held opponents under .200 this year (Percival was one of them) .. The Sox need Masterson, Delcarmen and Oki to match Howell and Balfour ..
(6) J-Bay's gotta be J-Bay .. and he will ..
(6A) We need another key hit or two outta J.D. Drew .. and we wil ..
(7) Win in the Trop .. The most amazing stat heading into this series: When 30,000 fans or more showed up at Tropicana Field this season, the Rays were 23-3.
(8) The Sox have Lester keyed up for a game 7 if necessary .. that's huge!
Let's break this one down like Dr. Jack.
1) Clutch hits. Got it.
2) Steal bases on a team that seems to be good at preventing stolen bases.
3) Win the first game. Okay.
4) Don't play shitty defense.
5) Express gratitude? (in years to come, perhaps this is where historians will say your analysis went south.)
6) I don't know what this means.
6a) (more clutch hits, as referenced above in 1 and 1a)
7) In addition to winning game 1 (#3 above), also win game 3 or 4.
Here are my keys to you avoiding sounding like a chucklehead:
1) Write insightful things- stuff like the above, that won't get it done.
2) Don't write shitty posts.
3) Definitely write good posts at home, during the first game.
4) Continue with good posts on the road.
5) see #1.