It's said that the mark of a good team is to beat other good teams. And it's often assumed that they'll also take care of business against the bad teams. The problem is that the bad teams don't always just lay down and roll over when the Red Sox come to town.
As the season winds down and the Red Sox are faced with one final series against the Baltimore Orioles, it's easy to look back at all the games the Red Sox could have or should have won against lesser teams. Maybe if the Sox had squeaked by with an extra win or two against the non-contenders in the league, they would have a little more padding in the standings.
Many non-contending teams have given the Red Sox problems year in and year out, and this season is no different. While Buck Showalter and the Orioles seem to be relishing the idea of playing spoiler to the Red Sox' postseason hopes, the O's haven't been the only pesky thorn in the Sox' side this season.
The Red Sox enter Monday's series with the Orioles boasting a 9-6 record against the boys from Baltimore, despite going 1-3 last week when the teams squared off. While that may seem like a missed opportunity considering where the Red Sox are now, it's one of several things the team could look back on with frustration.
Another team that gave the Red Sox fits despite a down season is the Chicago White Sox. The South Siders beat the Sox four out of six games this season but will finish the year in third place in the AL Central.
Seattle is another sub-.500 team that the Red Sox probably wish they had performed better against. While nobody can argue that Felix Hernandez isn't a tough pitcher to win against, the Mariners have struggled offensively this season and are sitting at the bottom of the AL West. And yet, the Red Sox dropped four of nine against the M's.
And who could forget the Toronto Blue Jays? The Jays will finish fourth in the AL East yet again, but they've played the Red Sox competitively all year. The season series between the Sox and Jays ended with a final tally favoring the Sox 10-8, and many fans would agree that the Jays always seem to play the Red Sox tough.