Patriots

Baltimore's Big Move

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Baltimore's Big Move

It's been a while since the Red Sox (or their fans) have had any reason to fear the Baltimore Orioles.

In fact, you probably have to go all the way back to 1997 the last season Baltimore finished with a winning record to find a time when a visit from the O's garnered anything more than chuckle, or indifferent shrug.

"Oh, the Orioles are in town? That's cool. But I think I'll watch something else."

Anything else.

But despite all that, there's no question that the Orioles are getting better. That Buck Showalter has instilled a competitive spirit into the clubhouse. That younger guys like Adam Jones and Matt Wieters are finally starting to realize their potential. That, for the first time in a long time, there's reason for optimism in Baltimore.

They arrive at Fenway tonight with a 16-9 record. They're 8-2 in their last 10 games. And you know there's nothing in the world this team wants more than to pile on Boston's baseball pain and embarrass the Sox in front of their home crowd.

Make no mistake, the Orioles hate Boston. They're to the Sox what the Buffalo Bills are to the Pats. The lovable losers that, over time, have built up so much jealousy and rage over, that they live for Boston failure. That's why they celebrated after knocking the Sox out in Game 162 of last season, and why they're no doubt getting a kick out of the way Bobby V and company have started this one.

In the past, an Orioles team would come into Fenway feeling over-matched and intimidated, and the result was predictably ugly. The worst stretch occurred between 2006-2009, when the Sox amassed a 55-11 record against the O's. But in recent years, Baltimore has narrowed the gap. In 2010, the teams tied the season series 9-9. Last year, the Sox eked out a 10-8 advantage.

Is this the year Baltimore finally gets the best of Boston?

Can't say it would be a surprise.

Then again, the last time the Red Sox lost a season series to the Orioles

Thing didn't turn out so bad.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Could Nationals' interest in Cora mess with Red Sox' plans?

Could Nationals' interest in Cora mess with Red Sox' plans?

The Washington Nationals will ask to speak to Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora after the ALCS, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported, which could throw a wrench into the Red Sox' plans to name Cora their manager.

The Sox appeared close to naming Cora to replace John Farrell after the Astros season is finished, NBC Sports Boston Red Sox Insider Evan Drellich reported earlier this week. Then the Nats decided to part ways with manager Dusty Baker after consecutive N.L. East titles but Division Series flameouts.

Cora, 41, as Cafardo points out, was once offered a player development job with the Nats, who were the last team he played for (2011) in his 14-plus years as a major league infielder, including 2005-08 with the Red Sox. 

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo obviously has a fondness for Cora, telling MLB.com in 2011:

"I think it comes natural to him to be a teacher. Alex still has a lot left in his tank as a player. But he has my number, and when he’s done playing, he can make a call. It will be well-received."

After interviewing Cora, ex-Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and Ron Gardenhire, who took the Tigers job this week, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told WEEI.com that he was still "undecided" if he'll interview anyone else.