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Game 160: Red Sox (89-70) @ Orioles (67-92), 7:05pm

The Hunter becomes the hunted as the O's try to carry on the spoiler tradition.
The Hunter becomes the hunted as the O's try to carry on the spoiler tradition.

This is as spoiler as spoiler gets. The Red Sox cling to a one-game wild card lead over Tampa Bay. There are three games left to play for both teams. Tampa plays New York, which has already clinched the best record in the AL. All that stands in the way of Boston is the lowly Baltimore Orioles, who have nothing in particular to play for. Perhaps pride, perhaps spite, perhaps the all-time hits record for a player from the Dominican Republic, perhaps for a future in the major leagues to extend beyond this Wednesday.

Tonight's matchup is a rematch of last Wednesday: Josh Beckett for the Sox against Tommy Hunter for the Orioles. The setting is moved a ways down I-95 to Camden Yards. Improbably, the O's were victorious in that game. Can lightning strike twice? The O's aren't even sending up a forfeit lineup - and after yesterday's uber-forfeit lineup saw six runs scored, I'll believe almost anything. Granted, those runs were scored against scrubbadocio extraordinaire Brad Penny. Beckett is a bit tougher game and he'll be more likely to learn whatever there was to learn from the last game.

Is this the best you've got, Boston? You're in the middle of a potentially epic choke job and you've got J.D. Drew and Jason Varitek starting the game? Good luck with that. You should be embarrassed for yourselves that you'll have to rely on a series against the cupcake Orioles to seal your fate.

Unrelated to this game entirely, did you know that Boston still has fruit from the Bronson Arroyo tree? Arroyo was traded to Cincinnati for Wily Mo Pena after the 2005 season. Pena was traded to Washington for a PTBNL in August 2007 that became Chris Carter. Carter was named as a PTBNL in an August 2009 trade to the Mets that brought Billy Wagner to Boston. Wagner was offered arbitration, declined and signed with Atlanta, awarding Boston the first-round pick of Atlanta in the 2010 draft (used on Kolbrin Vitek) and a supplemental pick (Bryce Brentz). That will sound a lot more impressive if Vitek or Brentz ever turn into anything. Based on minor league stat lines, it looks like Brentz has a better chance.

It turns out that you can trace a weirder and more obscure tree from the O's - the Nerio Rodriguez tree. Rodriguez was traded to Toronto to bring back Juan Guzman at the 1998 trade deadline, and Guzman was then traded at the deadline in 1999 to Cincinnati, bringing back B.J. Ryan, whom, when he departed in free agency after 2005 gave the Orioles a supplemental pick and a second round pick in the 2006 draft that became Ryan Adams. And the supplemental pick was Pedro Beato, who we allowed to be claimed by the Mets in exchange for another year on the 40-man roster for Pedros Viola and Florimon Jr. I guess the O's won that trade.