Boston Red Sox vs Tampa Bay Rays 2008 ALCS

4 down, 7 to go.

The Boston Red Sox came into last night’s game hoping to steal a victory in Game 1 behind the pitching of Daisuke Matsuzaka. After watching Dice-K’s 1st inning, there was no way to predict that he would actually last more than 5 innings given the fact that he walked the bases loaded. Then all of the sudden, Dice-K found his groove and was just cruising right along. He finally gave up hits in the 7 inning but worked around trouble. The bullpen made the lead hold up and the Red Sox took Game 1 2-0.

The win for the Red Sox is huge. Taking Game 1 on the road now puts all the pressure on the Tampa Bay Rays to win Game 2 tonight to earn a split at home. And if Josh Beckett can morph into October Josh Beckett, it won’t be an easy task for the Rays.

For the Rays, this is all new being in this type of pressure situation and one Red Sox player, David Ortiz, noticed a difference on the faces of the Rays.

“In the regular season it’s totally different than the playoffs,” Ortiz said after the Red Sox won Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, 2-0, last night over the Rays. “I’m the kind of guy that I watch everybody’s faces. I’ve got the opportunity because I don’t have to go out there and play defense. I’m telling you, I saw faces tonight different than what I see in the regular season. I don’t blame nobody. It’s a lot of pressure out there right now in this game because you have to win; otherwise, you go home.

“That relaxed type of thing that you have during the regular season, that wasn’t out there tonight.”

And here Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe explains it as well.

More links after the jump.

Josh Beckett is more than ready for Game 2 tonight.

Scott Kazmir is also ready for Game 2 tonight.

Jacoby Ellsbury shares his thoughts about Game 1 over at his postseason blog.

The Rays wasted a good outing from James Shields last night.

Daisuke Matsuzaka was once again Houdini-like.

There was no magic from the Rays in last night’s loss.

J.D. Drew was feeling fine after the game despite almost getting hit in the head with a pitch.

Dan Roche says it was a good team effort for the Red Sox last night.

Justin Masterson was outstanding out of the Red Sox bullpen last night.

Here is some more reaction from the Boston Globe scribes.

Here is some video from Terry Francona, Dice-K, Jonathan Papelbon and Kevin Youkilis from after the game.

For more playoff slices of Boston Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Hartford Courant and Providence Journal websites.

And if you must see what the enemy papers are saying you can check out the Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times websites.