The Orioles have a chance to down both Boston & New York for the first time since 1980
Sept. 3, 2012
In addition to helping decide the winner of the American League East, the Orioles' series with the Yankees later this week will determine whether the O's can win the season series against both Boston and New York in the same year for the first time since 1980.
The Orioles are 8-4 against Boston so far in 2012 and have an even 7-7 mark against New York. Taking down both of their longest-standing rivals would add another layer of excitement to an already thrilling season. No matter how rare post-season success might seem, regular-season success against both the Red Sox and Yankees is even more rare.
The O's didn't win both season series during their wire-to-wire run in 1997, during their wild card effort in 1996, or even during their most recent World Series year in 1983. They beat the Yankees (8-4) but not the Red Sox (5-7) in '97. They beat the Red Sox (7-6) but not the Yankees (3-10) in '96. And they beat the Red Sox (8-5) but not the Yankees (6-7) in '83.
The 1980 Orioles finished 8-5 against Boston and 7-6 against New York on their way to a 100-62 record. Eddie Murray and Ken Singleton powered the team at the plate with 32 and 24 home runs, respectively, while the four-man rotation of Cy Young winner Steve Stone (25 wins), Scott McGregor (20 wins), Jim Palmer (16 wins) and Mike Flanagan (16 wins) shut down the opposition. Despite being one of only two teams to win 100 games (the Yankees won 103 games and the division), the 1980 O's failed to qualify for the playoffs in the pre-wild card era.
The struggles of the '96 O's against the Yankees cost them a shot at the division title. Their 3-10 mark against New York more than accounted for the four-game difference between the two teams at the end of the season. With one game separating the Orioles from the Yankees following Monday's action, the final four games of the 2012 season series will help determine if the O's can do something they haven't done since 1997, 1980 and possibly even 1983.