I haven't been following the ALCS as closely as I would have liked to. I forget if I mentioned this already, but it's probably a good thing for me the Mets didn't make the playoffs...I'd either:
1) Not be able to watch past the third inning,
2) Be way too tired to function during the day, or
3) Be dead, what with all the parenting and working and baseball watching I'd have to do.
I throw that in about the NLCS to make it very clear that I saw none of the Red Sox' dramatic comeback in Game 5. My thought process when I shut the downstairs TV and went up to fall asleep in front of the bedroom TV (while lying in bed, rather than sleeping on the couch) was that I would either wake up during the Rays' celebration (I saw until 7-0) or see what the final score was in the morning.
The Wife got up with the Baby for a feeding, and said to me, "The Red Sox tied it." I thought I was dreaming. When she whispered, "The Red Sox won," I was really confused. I had to see highlights in the morning to convince myself.
Nevertheless, I think I was probably more bothered by the extension of the ALCS to Game 6 than the Rays were. They were going home anyway, their reaction was probably, "Well, I guess we'll win it on Saturday night."
I know it's impossible to count the Red Sox out, when you look at the ALCS deficits they've overcome in recent years (heck, stretch it back to 1986 - their last World Series before '04 - even then they overcame a 3-1 deficit), but this year feels different.
I get the impression the Rays just don't get intimidated. And I think Joe Maddon has a lot to do with their mindset. They could have been crushed by Game 1. They could have been disheartened when the Red Sox kept coming back on them in Game 2. But in both cases they rebounded pretty well. They took the first two at Fenway and darn near swept the Sox in their own park.
Coming home to Tampa just means they'll win it in front of their own crowd. And close out the Red Sox. Because these Rays are a better team than the Cleveland Indians of last year....so they'll do what that team couldn't.