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The Rays will regret letting the Red Sox rise from the mat

Big League Stew

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Over the next two days, we're going to hear every reason in the world why the Rays shouldn't panic and are still in the ALCS driver's seat: They're still up two games. They're headed back home. They have "Big Game" James Shields going against an ailing Josh Beckett in Game 6. They're young. They're unflappable. They're playing inside a dome. They're sleeping in their own beds. They've come back and proven all of us wrong before.

Say whatever makes you feel better, but we heard the same kind of arguments before for the Yankees in 2004. Same for the Indians in '07, too. We know what happened each time.

That's why I'm calling this series for Boston right now. It'll be Red Sox vs. Phillies in the World Series. Take it to the bank. Mark it down. Put it on the board. See all of you at Fenway Park next Wednesday night. The cheez whiz is out of the can.

OK, maybe you think I'm getting a little ahead of myself and maybe you think I'm writing a check the injured Red Sox can't cash. But doesn't coming back from a 7-0 deficit with two outs in the bottom of the seventh on Thursday seem like part of Boston's most elaborate Houdini escape plan yet?

And why should we bet against a team that has recently managed the impossible not once, but twice?

Look, it's up to you if you can't recognize the big ol' tow truck tha has lurched into gear and is rolling down the hill with no driver.

But I've read this book before — and I think it's wise to get out of the way.

A few other thoughts from Boston's incredible 8-7 Game 5 victory:

If the Red Sox go onto win this series, Dustin Pedroia's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh has the potential to become a "Dave Roberts' steal"-type moment. Not only did the hit score Boston's first run, it kept the inning alive for David Ortiz's three-run homer into the right field seats.

As you'll hear 67 times during Friday morning's SportsCenters, J.D. Drew's game-winning RBI came at 12:16 a.m., exactly five years to the minute that Aaron Boone beat them with a home run in Game 7 of the ALCS on Oct. 16, 2003. However, considering Boston avenged that moment a year later, I'm not sure this has any significance beyond being an incredibly spooky coincidence.

The B.J. Upton or Evan Longoria for MVP debate that I was having with David Brown in the seventh inning may go down as one of the most premature arguments that was never resolved of all time.

• Supposed question mark Scott Kazmir made Joe Maddon look like a genius for flipping his starting rotation. Supposed surething Grant Balfour and the Tampa Bay bullpen did not.

Why can't Chip Caray realize that Thursday's game was already exciting enough and that he didn't have to scream at the top of his lungs while describing the action?

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