What once appeared to be a comfortable lead for the Boston Red Sox has evaporated as fast as it was built. The AL East race is now a two-team -- to the wire.
"You could say it's a 13-game season now," Boston second baseman Jody Reed said last night after the Red Sox dropped into a tie with the Toronto Blue Jays by losing to the Orioles, 4-1. Today is the first time since Aug. 20 that the Red Sox have not held sole possession of first place.
"It's like the last two minutes of a tie basketball game," said Reed. "I think these last 13 games will be fun."
The Red Sox go into tonight's game against the Orioles (7:35, HTS) with eight losses in their last 11 games, while the Blue Jays have gone 9-2.
The Orioles will send Anthony Telford (2-2, 3.16) against the Red Sox tonight, hoping to end a string of 13 straight series losses to Eastern Division opponents. The rookie righthander does not figure to have an easy task.
Boston will counter with Greg Harris (13-7, 3.55), who has dominated the Orioles, this year and throughout his career. Harris will be trying for his fourth win in as many decisions this year against the Orioles, against whom he has a lifetime 1.40 earned run average.
"He changes speeds real well and we haven't made adjustments against him," said Orioles batting coach Tom McCraw. "He'll throw the breaking ball any time in the count, and we just haven't been able to handle him. But the young kids don't know all that, so they'll just be hacking at him."
This will be the first appearance against the Red Sox for Telford, who will be making the seventh start of his big-league career, his sixth at Memorial Stadium.