Their series against the Orioles was a terrible disappointment, but ultimately the Red Sox have come out on the other side with just as large a wild card lead as they entered with thanks to some losses by the Tampa Bay Rays.
The team they have to thank for keeping Tampa Bay down? Their eternal rivals in the New York Yankees--the very team that they now have to face for a three game series.
It was the New York Yankees who, three weeks ago, set the Red Sox off on their current slump. A pair of losses by a total of five runs left the Sox with the first of what is now seven straight series either lost or tied. The A.L. East champions are far from the ideal team to get them out of their slump, given that the Sox couldn't take a series from the terrible Orioles, but perhaps the rivalry is what they need to wake them up. Or maybe the Yankees will even do them the favor of rolling over as they attempt to rest up for the playoffs.
Either way, the Sox are in desperate need of wins, and if they don't start taking them now, it's hard to imagine them doing so in October should they even get the shot.
Boston Red Sox (88-68) vs. New York Yankees (95-61)
Friday, September 23, 7:05 p.m.
Jon Lester (15-8, 3.15 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (11-8, 3.77 ERA)
Saturday, September 24, 4:10 p.m.
Tim Wakefield (7-7, 5.08 ERA) vs. A.J. Burnett (10-11, 5.28 ERA)
Sunday, September 25, 1:05 p.m.
TBD vs. Ivan Nova (16-4, 3.62 ERA)