When the Red Sox were last in Baltimore, back in early May, they finally managed to escape from the rubble of the first five weeks of the season and reach the .500 mark at 19-19.
It was shocking that it took the defending world champions 38 games to merely reach the break-even point, but given that they had buried themselves with a 2-8 start and later, 6-13, there was the feeling that this would be their launch pad, that they would build from that modest achievement and climb back to the top of the division.
Having reached sea level, Alex Cora set the next short-term goal: to get to five games over .500. Not at the end of the season, of course. But as the next stopping-off point.
That, too, seemed modest. Surely, that would happen soon.