So many times in the past I remember seeing late-season series’ with the Boston Red Sox in which one team preparing or fighting for the post season, and the other was preparing to be on the golf course in a couple of weeks. Regardless of the venue of these series, that familiar “Let’s Go Red Sox” chant would always be prevalent, as the Boston fans would come down to Camden Yards for the weekend if the series was in Baltimore. We’ll touch more on that aspect perhaps next weekend (in what could truly be a historic weekend in Baltimore), however the fact is that this weekend’s series with Boston will have those aspects. One team is in fact fighting for the playoffs, and the other preparing to go home. We will probably hear those “Let’s Go Red Sox” chants, as the games will be at Fenway. However the shoe’s most certainly on the other foot…
I think that for a long time the Boston Red Sox would probably smile when they’d see the Orioles on their September schedule because they assumed that they could pick up some easy wins on their way to the post season. While it’s now the O’s who are chasing October and looking to go onto the “promised land,” I somehow don’t think that they’re taking Boston as lightly as they would probably have taken the Orioles over the years. I’m not even necessarily blaming Boston if in fact they ever took the Orioles lightly, because the Orioles had some pretty light years. I’m reminded of the game on September 1, 2007 at Fenway when the Orioles lost 10-0 to Boston. Clay Buchholz also no-hit the Orioles that night, adding to the Birds’ growing list of instances in which they got to sit in the opposing dugout and watch Boston celebrate at their expense.
That game was the same season in which the Orioles blew a 5-1 lead at Fenway in the last of the ninth inning to lose 6-5, in a game that’s known to Orioles fans as the “Mother’s Day Massacre.” So needless to say, the O’s have provided the Fenway Faithful with their share of memories, and in fact they probably helped add to the perception of arrogance that has at times come from the Boston club house. (When you beat someone’s brains in so many times, why shouldn’t you look down on them?) However ask yourself if either of those games would have gone as they did given this year’s Orioles team. Manager Sam Perlozzo removed starter Jeremy Guthrie after a masterful performance with once out in the 9th. The reason?…catcher Ramon Hernandez dropped a routine pop up. In that September 1st game, the last couple of innings were a flurry of Orioles swinging and missing as they tried desperately to get on base. Would a Buck Showalter-coached team continue to do that, or would they work the count a bit more?
That’s the difference in these Orioles as opposed to those Orioles, and that’s why they go into Fenway with massive playoff hopes this weekend. They’ll send Miguel Gonzalez to the mound at “the Fens” tonight; Gonzalez last pitching on September 12th. He’ll face Jon Lester, who in 20 career starts against the Orioles is 14-0. The Birds have their work cut out for them right away as they return to the east coast.