The Red Sox took two of three games from the Tampa Bay Rays in mid-September, a series that essentially ended the American League East race.
The Rays would have to make the postseason through a crowd of teams seeking a wild-card berth. But manager Joe Maddon predicted his team would face the Red Sox again.
“We’re really looking forward to playing them in the playoffs,” he said at the time.
Maddon arrived at Fenway Park on Thursday, the latest stop on a wild journey that landed the Rays in the American Division Series against the Sox. The Rays survived, just as he said they would.
“I felt pretty confident and strongly about that because I thought we could right ourselves, and we did,” Maddon said. “Had to do it against some pretty difficult moments.”
The Rays ended the regular season with a six-game road trip to New York and Toronto. They won four of those games then flew to Texas to play a wild-card tiebreaker game on Monday.
After beating the Rangers, 5-2, the Rays continued on to Cleveland and won the wild-card playoff game, 4-0, on Wednesday. Now they’re in Boston. In all, Tampa Bay has won 10 of its last 12 games.
A few notes:
• Third baseman Evan Longoria has played every inning of all 26 postseason games in Tampa Bay history.
• NESN broadcaster Jerry Remy, who has been away from the Red Sox since August following the arrest of his son for murder, posted a message on Twitter. “I hope [Friday] begins a great postseason for the Red Sox,” Remy wrote. “They’re a bunch of real good guys. I’ll be pulling for them the whole way.”