Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Did the Orioles Sink the Red Sox Back in May?

Yesterday I posted a blurb about how the Orioles dealt a death blow to the Angels season and wondered if they might do the same thing to the Red Sox this month. According to the Boston Herald's John Tomase, maybe they did it back in May when they swept the Sox in a three-game set at Camden Yards:

The Red Sox actually began that series on a bit of a roll. They had won 5-of-6 and were coming off a three-game sweep in Toronto that perhaps spoke more to the Blue Jays’ early-season ineptitude against the Sox than anything the visitors had done.

At 11-11, the Red Sox had finally returned to .500 for the first time since 4-4. They already trailed the Tampa Bay Rays by 5 games in the AL East and didn’t want to risk falling any further behind.

The Orioles appeared to be the perfect foes. Baltimore was just 4-18 and in the process of costing manager Dave Trembley his job....

The Red Sox have righted the ship since that 11-14 start, but not enough to seriously reinsert themselves into the playoff race. For that fading goal to have any semblance of hope, they’ll need to do a lot better with the Orioles, who are 16-10 since Buck Showalter took over as manager (Trembley was replaced for a time by Juan Samuel), this week than they did in the spring.

Remember the Mother's Day Massacre from 2007? Of course you do. Lost in all the misery of the losing earlier in 2010 is the fact that we have given the Red Sox their own heartburn, a series they refer to as The Lost Weekend, a time where their playoff-contending momentum was derailed by a wretched, demoralized Baltimore club.

If the Red Sox had swept the Orioles that weekend (as many clubs were doing at that point), they would be 4 games back instead of the 7 they find themselves now. Still a tough hill to climb but 7 games looked nearly insurmountable now, especially given who they are chasing.

If they lose this series to the Orioles, they could find themselves as much as 9-10 games back. Season over. Here's hoping the Orioles oblige them.

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