All three Texas wins in last year's American League Division Series came at the Trop, and on Monday, the Rangers and Rays continue this year's ALDS here with the series tied at 1. But during Sunday's workout day, about 24 hours ahead of Game 3's scheduled 5 p.m. ET first pitch, the Rangers weren't looking to the memory of last year for a boost.
"We believe we can win on any given day, and it doesn't matter where we are at," Michael Young said. "We believe in ourselves as players. We have a lot of respect for the other team, but we believe we can win anywhere."
"I think they are completely different years," David Murphy said. "Most of the players on the team are the same, but you start over with a new year. It's nice we had success here last year, but we're not thinking about that. We're thinking about how we can beat David Price."
The Rays' ace, Price makes his first start of this year's postseason on Monday against Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis, who also gets the ball for the first time this October. Last year, Lewis went 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA in the Rangers' run to the World Series, and was the only Texas starter to go undefeated in the playoffs.
"I try to not let, like, this right here [a press conference], the media and everything else, build it up to where it is more than just a start. For me, I try to keep everything normal, keep the workouts the same, keep everything as familiar to me as possible."
Though it technically came during the regular season, Price's most recent outing was essentially a playoff start, in Game No. 162 against the Yankees. The Rays ended up winning -- and clinching an October berth -- but long after he exited. The left-hander was off the mark, letting up five runs in four innings.
Price's ERA in six September starts was 4.01.
"September was a winless month for me, and that is, that's unacceptable," Price said. "So I need to come out tomorrow and throw the ball well and give us a chance to win."
For all the talk lauding the Rays' pitching staff, their offense has kicked it into gear of late, even when trailing. Tampa Bay has five home runs through the first two games of the series, and all have come with men on base. Stretching back to the regular season, the Rays have hit 17 homers in their last seven games.
"We're hitting them at the right times," Rays center fielder B.J. Upton said. "I don't think we've had a solo homer yet, so as long as there's men on base when we're hitting them, that's all that matters."
Despite Texas' success at the Trop last year, the Rays are still looking at their home park as, well, just that. Not known for the largest attendance figures, Tropicana Field can still pack a wallop audibly when the stadium is filled.
"We saw yesterday how much of an advantage home is when you get the crowd involved," Evan Longoria said. "The crowd gets back into the game and before you know it it's 5-3. I think when we did have that run in 2008, with 10 to 12 sold out games, our record spoke for itself. We do play better when this place is full. I'm looking forward to that advantage tomorrow."