We’re sure plenty of Boston fans will cling to hope in the ALCS by pointing out that the Red Sox rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat Cleveland in last year’s postseason. Three minor differences: they had a healthy and overpowering Josh Beckett in Game Five, came home for games six and seven, and Ortiz and JD Drew were actually hitting (.292 and .360 vs. .071 and .154 this year). Oh, and there’s Manny, who had two homers and 10 RBI and a .563 OBP last year against Cleveland. Jason Bay has hit well (.400), but he’s not nearly the presecene at the plate that ManRam was. The whole necklace thing isn’t working.

As for Tampa … wow. A performance that left us speechless. Seventeen hits. Three homers. Carl Crawford went 5-for-5 with two doubles and a triple, and some guy named Willy Aybar had his second great game against the Red Sox in the last month. The Rays have now scored 31 runs in the last three games, and they can finish the series Thursday in Fenway against the Gyroball.

Bob Ryan of the Globe, the kind of local writer who inspires hope in the home teams, doesn’t appear optimistic. “But asking a franchise to do the Lazarus act for the third time in five years? Is that asking a bit too much?”

Baseball commish Bud Selig, though, has faith. Dice K, Beckett, and Jon Lester? Come on! They can get the job done! They better. Baseball fans are not flocking to the Phillies/Dodgers series - it is on track to be the lowest-rated LCS ever on broadcast TV. You couple that with the Tampa Rays, and what do you have in the World Series?