On the pitching mound, Miguel Gonzalez is in a world of his own. May it be an awesome world tonight (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
The time has come for the latest of the tests in the 2012 Orioles season. The challenge in this test is to prevent the Red Sox from doing to the O's in 2012 what the O's did to the Red Sox in 2011. At least one Red Sox blogger is openly rooting for this to happen (while simultaneously being conflicted over whether to root for losing and a protected draft pick). Can the O's dodge the counterspell of the Curse of the Ciriaco? Can they finally pin a loss on Jon Lester (not that pitching wins and losses matter, but seriously, the Lester streak against the O's is ridiculous)? There are six games left against Boston. They can do some damage. It only takes one bad bounce or one bad pitch.
Miguel Gonzalez, whose last stop in the major leagues before a Mexican League exile was the Red Sox organization, gets the chance to show them what they missed out on tonight. Indeed, his ESPN player profile even now shows him in a Red Sox hat. His is among the greatest surprise stories of the year. He will get a couple more chances in the regular season to show why, and dare I say it, maybe even a chance in the playoffs. Does his stuff play well in a place like Fenway? Well, I don't know. He has a high enough home run rate to be concerned at any time. We've seen him have clunkers. No clunkers tonight, MiGo.
O's hitters will be facing the aforementioned Lester, who has pretty much sucked this year. A 4.95 ERA for a guy like him is a disaster. Too much fried chicken and beer? Bad BABIP luck? Who knows? One thing you can say in his favor is he's taken the mound every time it was his turn. He has 30 starts, 187.1 IP. He has never taken a loss in a game against the Orioles, and until last September the Red Sox had never lost an O's game he started. That's all changed now. The demon is wounded, but not slain.
It is fitting, of course. As Lord Eddard Stark reminds his young son Brandon, the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. Last September, the Orioles passed the sentence that the Red Sox should descend into irrelevance. Now, as our resident prophet might say, it is time to swing that mighty sword. Boston is already out of the race this year, but the O's will have six games to send them off into the offseason with this simple reminder: winter is coming.
Will it be Adam Jones? Matt Wieters? The old Red Sox nemesis Robert Andino? Or someone else more unexpected? None of us can say for sure. We can only hope that what looks like a gravy stretch of ten games truly turns out to be so.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||BOSTON RED SOX|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Pedro Ciriaco - 3B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Scott Podsednik - CF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Dustin Pedroia - 2B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Cody Ross - RF|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Ryan Lavarnway - C|
|Lew Ford - DH||Jarrod Saltalamacchia - DH|
|Manny Machado - 3B||James Loney - 1B|
|Endy Chavez - RF||Daniel Nava - LF|
|Robert Andino - 2B||Jose Iglesias - SS|