159 games later, and here we are: the final series of the regular season.
Unfortunately, things aren't as wrapped up as the Red Sox would like them to be. A 10 game lead on the wild card has shrunk all the way down to one, and that only because of Jacoby Ellsbury's 14th inning heroics Sunday night.
It's been tough going for the Sox of late. Of that there's no doubt. Now, against the Orioles, they'll have their last chance to turn things around. If they can get the job done in Baltimore with their first series win in September, then they'll at the very least have a chance to play the Rays in one game for all the marbles (if they don't just take the wild card entirely). And should they make it, they can go in with at least some semblance of momentum.
If not, then they'll be depending on the Yankees to down some of the best Tampa Bay has, and do so despite Joe Girardi's clear focus on October.
The good news, however, is that Boston will at least have two of their three best starters going, with the option of giving Jon Lester the start in the final game of the season, should it come down to that.
Boston Red Sox (89-70) vs. Baltimore Orioles
Monday, September 26, 7:05 p.m.
Josh Beckett (13-6, 2.70 ERA) vs. Tommy Hunter (4-4, 4.86 ERA)
Tuesday, September 27, 7:05 p.m.
Erik Bedard (5-9, 3.50 ERA) vs. TBD
Wednesday, September 28, 7:05 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD