ST. PETERSBURG -- Obviously, Game 3 is pivotal for both teams. The team that wins will have a 2-1 advantage, putting the other team on the brink of elimination.
Rays manager Joe Maddon was asked about the significance of winning Game 3.
"You want to believe it's very big," Maddon said, "especially when you're home like this. If we could gain momentum going into [Tuesday], day game after a night game, you think of all these crazy things -- of course, at home, winning the third game, with a day game to follow. It's a pretty good warm fuzzy at that point.
"You want to be able to be in that position. Then again, if you're not. ... it's September again, and it's last year again when we're down 2-0 -- go over there, win two games, come back. We've been in these moments before. All I ask of our guys to do is stay in the present tense. Go out there and play. Don't try and overthink it. See what happens."
While the Rays don't want to be down 2-1, they are used to playing in elimination games. In fact, the month of September had the feel of playing in an elimination game almost every night. Maddon was asked if his team would have any sort of benefit from having played under those circumstances.
"I don't know if there's a benefit," Maddon said. "But I'll say this, our guys won't be overly impacted by the thought. We have been faced with these moments many times [over the last] month. I just did my walking around in the food room and every place else. They seem to be pretty much the same group. Regardless of what happens tonight, I expect us to be the same way tomorrow. And that's the beauty of our group, right now. We've been able to maintain this present-tense mentality."