Below are three keys to finding success this week in Baltimore.
Home Away From Home
When the Red Sox got off to a slow start in 2010 they made their first trip to Baltimore near the end of April, likely banking on a chance to turn things around. Who could blame them? Boston had gone 67-28 at Camden Yards from 1999 to 2009, making a mockery of the once-proud Orioles.
Three losses later, including two in walk-off fashion, and that Camden Yards dominance was a distant memory. There was another walk-off win in the finale of the Sox' next trip to Baltimore in early June.
And with a renewed vitality in the Orioles clubhouse under new manager Buck Showalter, Baltimore presents a bit more of a challenge than it might have in previous years, despite the team's last-place standing.
Finding a way to conjure up the dominance of yesteryear will help Boston build that momentum it sorely needs entering September.
Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe
Sure, the Orioles are a different team than the one that plummeted to the division basement earlier this year, but it might not even matter if the Red Sox do not figure out a way to take care of the weak.
Boston is 17-16 against the four worst teams in the American League, including a 6-6 mark vs. Baltimore. If there was ever a time to take care of business against the cellar dwellers, this is it.
Avoid Another Whammy
There is a sense that as players are shelved for the rest of the season that all the injury concerns will eventually come to an end soon. But the Sox continue to send out banged up players that could be a play away from making things worse.
Adrian Beltre's left hammy continues to cause a notable limp. Victor Martinez gets a visit from the trainers on an almost daily basis, often related to his oft-bruised toe. Marco Scutaro's shoulder and neck woes have sapped his arm strength.
Each of the three are gamers who have battled through plenty this year. There's no reason to believe they and the others who are dealing with bumps and bruises won't continue to. But the Sox have to hope that the one potentially damaging play never arrives.
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