Spoiler Potential Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles

By Paul Mroczka

The Boston Red Sox will play the Baltimore Orioles this weekend and that means that Boston has another chance to be the spoiler. The Orioles are one game behind the New York Yankees in the AL East and they are currently in possession of one of the Wild Card spots. The other Wild Card is occupied by the Oakland Athletics. The Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Angels and Chicago White Sox are also in contention for the Wild Card.

What this means is that the Red Sox have the opportunity to be spoilers this weekend. Last week when the two teams met the Orioles took 2 of 3, including an extra inning game. Those were played at Fenway Park. Now the Red Sox venture to Baltimore’s home turf.

What is the true spoiler potential these Red Sox? I hate to say it, but I believe it is relatively low. Let’s be realistic, you have the Red Sox who are 69-87 and the Orioles who are 89-67. Boston pitching is ranked 25th overall in ERA, and although they have good bats, they don’t possess the pitching to ensure a victory.

There’s also the motivation factor. It’s true that some guys like Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia live for the chance to knock out one of the top teams, but it’s unlikely the entire Red Sox team is on the same page. The Red Sox are 3-7 in their last 10, while the Orioles are 7-3.

Finally, there’s the fact that manager Bobby Valentine will be giving minor leaguers a chance to get some time in. Thus, winning isn’t as important as getting guys ready for next year and preserving some of the premium talent by resting them for part of or for an entire game.

The best chance that the Red Sox have of taking one against the Orioles is on Saturday when Felix Doubront (11-9) pitches. Although Doubront has struggled in the second half of the season, he’s coming back into form. Doubront has won his last two starts, beating Baltimore 2-1 on September 23 and Tampa Bay 7-5 on September 18. But it’s doubtful that Boston will be able to do major damage by taking three straight.

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