Click the play button below to hear Joe McDonald's comments, recorded this morning from Tampa. He speaks about the Red Sox' playoff rotation -- and why the Rays are glad they'll be seeing Josh Beckett in Game 2 -- Daisuke Matsuzaka's history against the Rays, a profile of Tampa Bay Game 1 starter James Shields, and the likelihood of another dustup happening between the two teams in this series.
Here are some excerpts from Joe's comments:
On the Red Sox rotation: "Talking to a lot of the Tampa Bay players yesterday ... they are actually glad they are not going to be Jon Lester at the Trop, just because he's the type of guy that can win anywhere. He can beat you at home, he can beat you on the road. ... They don't want to lose a game at home against him, so they're actually kind of glad they're going to see Matsuzaka, who they've had success against this year, and Beckett."
On Shields: "The thing that I like about Shields is ... when he gets the ball on the mound he is just a fierce competitor. ... He's not going to overwhelm you, but he likes to pound the strike zone. His out pitch is the slider, he has a quality change-up, can spot his fastball, doesn't walk a lot of guys. His biggest thing is, he plays to contact. He'll let guys hit the ball, and he'll allow the Tampa defense to do their job."
On the likelihood of trouble in the series: "I don't think you'll see any incidents, just because of what's at stake. ... It was interesting, we were in the clubhouse yesterday, and ESPN was actually showing the history between the two teams, and they showed the bench-clearing brawl back in June. Shields was actually watching it along with some teammates, and they were just kind of laughing about it."