By SBRForum.com

The Baltimore Orioles are so close, they can taste it. They haven’t been in the postseason for a while but they appear to be in good shape to end that drought. All it takes is one more good week – or one more so-so week – and they’re in.

Playing the role of spoiler will be the Boston Red Sox, who could really use a decent finish to head into the offseason with some optimism. It’s been a tumultuous season for the Red Sox and they’ve fallen way short of their expectations but dragging the Orioles down with them should help them feel better about themselves.

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By SBRForum.com

The Boston Red Sox will host the Tampa Bay Rays for a brief two-game series this week on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Red Sox haven’t had much to play for down the stretch of the season as they haven’t been in content but they can rally around the opportunity to spoil the Rays postseason chances. As it stands now, the Rays are 3.5 games out of a Wild Card spot and they’ll need wins against Boston if they want to have any shot of making the playoffs.

Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz will take to the mound for Boston against David Price and Alex Cobb. Buchholz has pitched well recently as he’s allowed just one earned run over his last 14 innings pitched. Lester hasn’t pitched as well as he’s allowed at least three earned runs in six straight starts.

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By: SBRForum.com

Boston has a chance to split the four-game series with the Rays tonight, and whether or not they are successful at getting the split; they have a three –game series with the Orioles starting over the weekend. This marks the first of six games remaining against the Orioles, and even though the Sox would love to see the Yankees miss out on the playoffs, they also are trying to win games still. It’s just unfortunate that if they win, they lose, and if they lose to the Orioles, they still lose.

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By SBRForum.com

The Red Sox are in an interesting position on the MLB picks. Though out of playoff contention, and with all the Bobby V turmoil, they are in a unique position with just 15 games to go. The Sox could play the roll of playoff spoiler for three teams. Boston plays the Rays six times in the last 15 games, and they also have three games against the Yankees, and six against the Orioles. Can the Red Sox play the ultimate division killer, or will they serve as a stepping-stone to the playoffs for their rivals?

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By SBRForum.com

After the rubber game of a three game series with the Yankees is over Thursday, the Red Sox will try to finish off this terrible season on a high note. It will start with a three game series with the Blue Jays in Toronto. MLB odds favor the Blue Jays in the first game, and other than Clay Buckholz pitching in the 2nd game of the series, the Sox don’t have the greatest matchups for this series.

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Even in a lost season it’s gratifying to beat the Yankees.  It’s even better when that win costs the Bronx Bombers their sole possession of first place in the American League East.  With any luck the Sox can build on that euphoria because they’ll need it next year.

The 2013 season opens on the road in Yankee Stadium.

If that three-game set does not go well the Red Sox will not need to wait long to make up for a poor series.  They open at home a week later and will see the hapless Houston Astros, newcomers to the AL in 2013, before the first month of baseball is out.

Should the current schedule hold, the Sox will play 17 of their first 27 games and 18 of their final 30 games in the friendly confines of Fenway Park.  Unfortunately that also means that May, June, July, and August are packed with long road trips.  Among those road trips will be a West Coast swing to see the Golden Gate bridge (@San Francisco 8/19-21) and to check on members of The Trade (@LA Dodgers, 8/23-25).  Perhaps the timing of the six game stretch out West is not by accident; the middle game of the three-game set is the anniversary of The Trade itself.

The Sox will round out their NL West interleague games with home series against the the Rockies (6/25-26), Padres (7/2-4), and Diamondbacks (8/2-4), as well as a road series against the Rockies the last week of the season.  They also have a home-and-home rivalry series with the Phillies May 27-30, with the first two games at Fenway and the last two in Philadelphia.

The full schedule is available at mlb.com.

By SBRForum.com

The best rivalry in baseball opens up its’ final three game series in Boston this Tuesday evening, and even though the two franchises are heading in opposite directions this season, these games are always fun to watch, and contested. Boston has gutted some of their roster from this season, so it might be ugly. The Yankees are 8-4 against Boston this season in the MLB Picks.

The Yankees also get the luxury of throwing out their second most reliable guy in this opening game, as they try to stay ahead of the Orioles in the AL East. Hiroki Kuroda will take his 3.14 ERA and 138 strikeouts to the mound, to face off against Boston’s disappointing John Lester. Lester is 9-11 this season, and his ERA is 0.01 away from an even 5 runs per game. He does however, have 145 K’s this season.

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On October 29, 2007, at 12:06 in the morning, the Red Sox capped of an easy 4 game sweep of the Colorado Rockies to win their 7th World Series in team history and their second in three years. As a Red Sox fan, things could not seem any better. The team finally had a competent GM and ownership combination. The team had a manager that was loved by the team’s players and fans. The farm system was ripe with talent with the likes of Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Lars Anderson,  Justin Masterson, Michael Bowden and Jed Lowrie as well as the recently graduated trio of Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester and Jonathan Papelbon. The youth was plentiful, and other key long-term fixtures like Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, J.D. Drew, Josh Becket and even Daisuke Matsuzaka seemingly meant that the team’s success at that time was potentially sustainable for a long time.

And for a while, that is exactly what happened. The next two years the team won exactly 95 games. In 2008 the Red Sox lost to Tampa Bay in the ALCS in game 7. In 2009 the team was swept by the Angels in the ALDS. However, since then, the Red Sox have finished no better than 3rd in the AL East, have not won over 90 games, and are now staring their third consecutive season without making the playoffs. For all the excitement that surrounded this roster, things surely never quite panned out like I’m sure we all hoped.

Jonathan Papelbon celebrates the final out of the 2007 World Series

So what happened? Well, that’s a complex question and isn’t what I am seeking to answer. There are numerous upon numerous things that went wrong. There were injuries. There were bad contracts handed out. There were underachieving players. There was bad luck. There were just flat out better teams that outplayed the Sox in a strong AL and an even stronger AL East.

I recently read a post on Bleacher Report talking about how it was poor trading from Theo Epstein that are most to blame for the Red Sox current woes. While I do think Theo made some pretty obvious mistakes, scapegoating him, specifically for his trades, didn’t quite settle easily with me. Since it was a silly Bleacher Report article from a silly Bleacher Report author, I feel no desire to link to it and increase his page hits. I just didn’t agree with it, and sought out to delve a bit into it.

Maybe he had a point, despite posting no specific evidence to support his claim. Maybe the Red Sox got too gung-ho in their desires to achieve immediate success, and thus made risky trades that ultimately backfired. There is an easy way to figure this out though and that’s to look at the trades.

What role did trades play into it? Specifically, did the Red Sox make any huge errors in their desire to continually contend rather than focus on the future?

By my count, since Papelbon struck out Seth Smith for the final out in 2007, the Red Sox have made just over 60 player trades. The vast majority of them were the exchanging of low level prospects that will never pan out and journeymen players that never really had any impact.

Perhaps none will have more of an impact than the blockbuster just pulled off with the Dodgers, but only time will tell who really won that trade.

The first major trade that happened after the Red Sox last World Series win was right before the non-waiver trade deadline the year after.

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July 31, 2008: The Dodgers sent Bryan Morris and Andy LaRoche to the Pirates. The Red Sox sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers. The Red Sox sent Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss to the Pirates. The Pirates sent Jason Bay to the Red Sox.

 

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By SBRForum.com

As Bobby V contemplates punching sports radio hosts in the mouth, which isn’t always a bad idea, the Boston Red Sox sink deeper into the muck that is the 2012 MLB season. What’s Boston’s motivation from here on out? Are the Sox playing for some pride, and maybe for something to carry over into next season? Or is this team tanking it, to make sure Valentine doesn’t come back next season?

The Red Sox continue playing out the string on this season when they host the Toronto Blue Jays for three games at the Fens starting Friday night.

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By SBRForum.com

In 2011, the Boston Red Sox lost 20 of 27 games in September, blew a 9.5-game lead and failed to make the postseason. In the offseason, the team fired their manager, general manager and since made wholesale changes to the roster. But a year later, the results are still the same. September has rolled around and the Red Sox are still taking beatings on the MLB odds.

The Red Sox next stop on their west coast road trip is in Seattle as they stay for three games. They enter on a six-game losing streak but it’s not just the fact that they’re losing; it’s the ugly fashion in which they’ve lost that also causes concern.

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