Red Sox Presented Opportunity To Return Spoiler Favor
A year ago, the Orioles got into the collective heads of Boston's players. The Birds ruined the playoff hopes of the Red Sox during the last week and game of the 2011 season.
Since then, the two teams have changed identities. The Birds now have 85 wins and are a game behind the Yankees in the American League East with 13 contests left during the season, six of which are against Boston. The Red Sox have 68 wins during what has been a disasterous campaign for one of baseball's crown jewel organizations.
The Orioles begin a weekend series in Boston Friday, and the Red Sox have the opportunity to return the favor of pain to the Orioles. You could argue that the Birds beating Boston last year changed baseball, as the Red Sox haven't mentally recovered. They've now overhauled their roster and the Orioles have filled their place near the top of the AL East.
For some in Boston, beating the Orioles this weekend would be sweet revenge. It also doesn't seem likely. The Orioles are no longer underdogs playing over their heads. They're a good team and know it. They're playing with a laser-like focus and the danger for them is not overlooking the Red Sox, but peaking too soon.
Plenty of hot teams have gotten into the playoffs, then found out they have nothing left in the tank. The problem is that the Orioles have been playing with this postseason intensity for more than a month. Now that the last two weeks of the season are here, it would be hard to imagine the club cranking up its intensity further. If it's able to, that is indeed scary.
Posted Sept. 21, 2012