‘It’s Grinding Season’ For Red Sox

BOSTON (CBS)  – It is time for the  Red Sox to take care of business in Baltimore.

Or as closer Jonathan Papelbon puts it: “grind and shine.”

“That’s it. This is grinding season. Now we have to go ball in Baltimore,” the Sox closer said after Boston’s 7-4 14-inning win over the Yankees on Sunday night.

With the win, Boston remains one game up of the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card race. Their magic number to clinch a postseason berth is at three.

But the Red Sox are not counting on the Rays to lose during their three-game series with the Yankees, so they want to take care of business themselves.

“We have to keep winning from here on out. We have to figure Tampa is going to win the next three games,” said Papelbon, who pitched 2.1 scoreless innings in New York Sunday night. “We have three more games; we have to go win three more games. We’ve done it countless times.”

Roche Blog: Renewed Optimism

“We’re going to play hard. A lot of people are writing us off, so we’re going to come out and play our butts off,” said second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

While the Sox hold the one-game advantage, it will all come down to the final series of the season. When September started, and Boston held a 1 ½ game lead over the Yankees for the AL East, it was supposed to be an easy ride to October.

It was anything but, and now the Red Sox hope their slump is out-of-the-way as the postseason approaches.

“I was asked about two weeks ago about us slumping. I said I’d rather be slumping then than at the last week of the season. That’s when I’d rather be slumping, not now. Now we’re not slumping, now we roll,” Papelbon said confidently after the win.

“If you don’t like this, you ain’t got blood flowing through your veins,” the closer continued. “If you don’t like this; if you’re not going to play tired, play hurt… if you’re in this clubhouse (and don’t feel that), you don’t have blood in your veins.”

View: Red Sox Team Stats

“Every year is long. It’s just tough when you don’t play well at the end,” said Pedroia.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“We’re on a one-game winning streak. Smile Jonny,” Pedroia joked with WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jonny Miller.

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