What once seemed like a comfortable AL wild-card lead for the Boston Red Sox is completely gone.
Now finding themselves tied atop the wild-card standings, the reeling Red Sox turn to Erik Bedard(notes) as he makes his first appearance in four years at Camden Yards on Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles.
Baltimore (68-92) scored four times in the sixth inning en route to a 6-3 win Monday that dropped Boston into a tie for the wild-card lead with Tampa Bay, which beat New York earlier in the evening.
Losers in 20 of 27, the Red Sox (89-71) have blown the nine-game wild-card lead they held over the Rays on Sept. 3. Boston’s 6-19 record in September is the second worst for the club since the 1926 team when 4-18. Four of those losses this month have come in five games versus Baltimore.
The Red Sox had either stood atop the AL East or led the wild-card race every day since before play on May 24.
“We’ve backed ourselves about as far as we can go,” manager Terry Francona said.
Despite their struggles, the Red Sox are trying to remain confident knowing they need to win their final two games to reach the postseason or force a one-game playoff with the Rays.
Bedard (5-9, 3.50 ERA), who broke in with the Orioles in 2002, is making his first start at Camden Yards since his last game for Baltimore in 2007. The left-hander is 20-18 in 56 career starts at Camden Yards and his 3.56 ERA in those contests is the lowest all-time among pitchers who have made at least 40 starts there.
He allowed four runs - one earned - and five hits in 2 2-3 innings of a 7-5 loss to the Orioles last Tuesday. He has a 3.00 ERA with no decisions in two starts - one with Seattle - versus Baltimore this year.
Though Ellsbury has had success against Baltimore, the Orioles have won 10 of 14 overall. Vladimir Guerrero(notes) went 1 for 4 on Monday to become the career hits leader among Dominican-born players.
“I played a lot of years, so it felt very good, satisfying to get that hit,” said the 36-year-old Guerrero, who has 2,587 hits in 16 seasons.
Guerrero, batting .321 versus Boston this season, scored on Chris Davis’(notes) go-ahead double in the sixth inning. Robert Andino(notes) followed with a three-run inside-the-park homer to highlight the inning.
Baltimore’s Zach Britton(notes) (11-10, 4.44) concludes a solid rookie season trying for a third consecutive winning start. Despite giving up five runs and four walks in five innings, Britton came out ahead in a 6-5 victory at Detroit on Thursday.
Though the left-hander was roughed up for eight runs in two-thirds of an inning in a 10-3 loss at Fenway Park on July 8, Britton gave up a run in six innings of a 4-1 win over the Red Sox at Camden Yards on April 26.