So who had "Rays in Five"?
There's still baseball to be played however, and anything and everything remains possible. For their part, the Rays are helping matters with a strange bit of rotation jumbling:
But Maddon isn't fazed. To him, this is quite logical, for many reasons. Start with the idea that Shields has pitched significantly better in Tropicana Field than he has on the road in general (5-6, 4.82 ERA), and Fenway in particular (0-2, 21.21 ERA). Then consider that Kazmir is 4-4 in Fenway during his career with a 3.02 ERA.
Kazmir could suck tonight or he could throw a no-hitter, it's baseball. He's a talented guy with a good defense behind him facing off against a good lineup: just about anything might happen. In any case, it isn't a disastrously weird move along the lines of playing Ross Gload everyday or anything. Nevertheless, the thought-process behind it: namely, treating park-splits as gospel is weak. Then again, this is the same world in which "using stats" for most managers sees its highest form in the deployment of pitcher-hitter matchup stats, which are only slightly more informative than, say, batting average by day of week.
However, there could be one karmic benefit to this move. I'm a firm believer that the universe is designed to annoy and frustrate me, a theory especially strengthened when the world of sport, so clearly meant to be a harmless diversion from life's pain, becomes particularly maddening. According to this line of thinking, the most likely result tonight, and over the next three games, would be Red Sox victories, leading to 2,328 segments/columns/blog posts about a gutty, veteran, resilient Red Sox team that had been there before and just knew how to win, culminating in a 4,000 word post by Simmons in which he performs a sexual act on David Ortiz. Awful awful awful. Yet likely. Buuuuut... with Maddon's gambit, there's now a chance that the Rays could win tonight, most obviously because "Maddon pushed all the right buttons" or "Kazmir responded to Maddon's change" or "Maddon's move took the pressure off the Rays" and on and on.
So we'll see.