In case you haven’t heard, the Orioles have the chance to knock the Boston Red Sox out of playoff contention tonight. Most Oriole fans, for lack of important games in September, are treating this as if it’s a playoff game. And while the game probably is more important than any other game they’ve played this late in the season in the last ten years, let’s not go overboard here. If the Orioles win, they don’t move onto the “next round”, unless that “next round” is a round of golf. No, the only thing at stake is a chance to twist the dagger into the backs of the Red Sox nation. Misery loves company, after all.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to see the O’s knock the Red Sox out of the wild card. This was the same Red Sox team that the Boston media was predicting could be “the best team ever” back in April after the Red Sox had signed Carl Crawford to a 7-year deal that will pay him $20 million for the next 6 years in addition to the $14 million they gave him this year to post the lowest OPS (.694) since 2003. They also traded for Padres 1B slugger, Adrian Gonzalez, who unlike Crawford, has had an excellent season. And don’t even get me started on Red Sox fans.
But while others are ready to treat this as a real playoff game, I can’t buy in completely. The Orioles are headed for their 6th consecutive losing season of 90 or more losses. The future is as muddled as a puddle, now that GM Andy MacPhail is not coming back and word on the street is that a career manager, Buck Showalter, is about to become the GM. Whether that’s good or bad remains to be seen. But last time I checked, Peter Angelos is still the owner, so any moves they make this offseason are moot in my eyes as long as Angelos still owns the team. Professional sports organizations, like dead fish, rot from the head on down.
Back to tonight’s game. Jon Lester, he of a 14-0 career record against the Orioles, takes the mound tonight for the Red Sox. He’s pitching on 3 days rest, and the last time he did that, he was shelled. I’d love for his first loss to the O’s also be the game that keeps them from advancing to the playoffs.
So can the O’s do it? Can they play spoiler to the Red Sox? Can the Rays cap off a sweep of the Yankees tonight to win the wild card?
I will be watching tonight. There’s no denying that. I just can’t get too excited about it. I prefer my playoff games to actually have something at stake other than spite.