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Looking ahead to Tampa

Posted by Amalie Benjamin  October 7, 2008 05:51 PM

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So Jason Bay might be a big fan of the catwalks, where he placed a home run earlier this season, but Terry Francona historically hasn't exactly been their biggest booster. Perhaps the Sox are hoping they won't factor into the postseason at all.

But catwalks or no catwalks, Tropicana Field hasn't exactly been the same home-away-from-home this season that it's been in the past for the Sox. While the Rays fans have multiplied (at least slightly), leaving fewer seats for transplanted Bostonians, the play on the field hasn't had quite the same results either.

"Going to the dome, we haven't played well there this year," Dustin Pedroia said. "We've got to find a way to win games."

The Sox lost the season series, 10-8, but the more important fact might be that the Sox could win just one game on the road in the nine these two teams played in Florida. The Sox and Rays each won the first two series played in their home parks against each other, but things changed in September. That was when Tampa Bay came to Fenway Park and took two of three from the Sox, followed up by the Sox' only win of the season at Tropicana Field in a series in which the Rays came back to take the final two contests.

"We've got a long road ahead of us still," Jonathan Papelbon said. "It's going to be another hard-fought battle. At this time of year, nobody's going to lay down for you. That's for sure."

The Sox are planning to head to St. Petersburg, Fla., on Wednesday after a workout at Fenway Park at noon. That's when Francona and the team will meet with the media next, as the team took a well-deserved day away from the park today.

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