The O's end up in the Loss column tonight, but can you real consider what the Red Sox did, winning? Sure at the end of the game they had 1 more run than the Orioles, but they nearly squandered a 4-run lead, were kept ahead solely on the long ball by 3 players, and they showed just how tired their pitching staff is. The Red Sox bullpen gave up four late game run, and did not put the Orioles away easily.
Unfortunately for the Orioles, Zack Britton in September is not the same as in April. Only going 4.1 innings he gave up almost all the runs the Red Sox needed to win. Jason Berken, another disappointment this season gave up 2 runs off 2 hits and he was done. The Sox capitalized much on the weakness of the early Orioles pitching, but after the 6th inning were only able to add two more hits in the game. Four of the runs came off of third string catcher Ryan Lavarnway. Not to say that hitting your first two home runs isn't huge after being called up in September, but the only reason he was playing tonight was because Saltalamaccia physically couldn't be behind the plate after getting a foul ball off the collarbone on Monday. And let's be serious for a minute, rookie pitcher vs. rookie hitter, any veteran pitcher would have sent Lavarnway straight back to the bench the way he hacked at the ball (he flew out twice tonight).
The good news is the Tampa Bay Rays won. The Rays have everything to win and nothing to lose, after going on a tear in September they remain tied with the Red Sox. On the other hand the Red Sox are in the midst of an epic fall. The Rays have beat the best team in the AL East twice this week while the Red Sox got embarrassed last night and barely won tonight against the worst team in the AL East. The Rays have been playing their hearts out while the Sox have been rearranging deck chairs on the sinking Titanic.
And so, it brings us to tomorrow's game. The Orioles have one last chance to end the season on a high note. As fans, we would love nothing more than to see the O's ruin the Red Sox season. It's not that we have this massive rivalry, we just like to see them lose. It's hard to be a fan when the Sox come into town like the Massachusetts Militia rallying to Concord. We can't even give our home team an advantage in our own ballpark, so sure we love it when you come down and we send you shipping back to Boston.
The Sox played with their backs against the wall the entire game, and will be playing the same way tomorrow. But they look exhausted after a 3:37 hour slugfest, and have to go back for one more game. The Orioles are looking forward to finishing game 162 and calling it a season, the Red Sox have at least one more game to fight it out, but if you ask me I'd say they look like Custer and the 7th Cavalry on Last Stand Hill.