They drop three of four in Chicago against a team that's waiting to be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
Not a happy Labor Day by any means, but, as always, tomorrow is another day, and with it brings a two-game series against the awful Orioles.
End 8th, 5-1 White Sox: Okajima sucks the drama out of this one with a two-run bomb to Quentin. The Red Sox would have needed an unlikely ninth-inning surge to win this one. Now they'll need a miracle.
4:26 p.m.: Okajima's fall from mediocrity into putridity continues, thanks to a two-out, two-run home run from Carlos Quentin.
4:21 p.m.: Pedroia's flip, turn and throw wasn't as cool as Sunday's. A jam for Okajima is not what he really needs.
4:16 p.m.: Hideki Okajima takes the mound for the Red Sox. He's had a rough week, to say the least. He's given up four runs in one inning pitched in his last three outings.
Middle 8th, 3-1 White Sox: Bay is rung up on a pitch that was about six inches off the plate, then Lowell swings at a similar pitch to end the inning.
With Bobby Jenks ready to come in for the ninth, things don't look too promising for Boston. Baldelli (0-for-3), Varitek (0-for-3) and Gonzalez are due up in the final frame.
4:11 p.m.: That's a terrible call in a big spot in the baseball game.
4:06 p.m.: The Red Sox finally chase Buehrle from the game, thanks to a leadoff single by Victor Martinez. Buehrle is replaced by Tony Pena, who 1 1/3 scoreless innings on Sunday.
End 7th, 3-1 White Sox: There's hardly any room for analysis, other than the pitchers are both rolling. Beckett sits the White Sox down in order again for the third straight time.
Six outs for the Boston bats to make a move.
Middle 7th, 3-1 White Sox: Buehrle tells Beckett, "Anything you can do, I can do better." Buehrle shuts the Sox down in order, and time is officially running out.
End 6th, 3-1 White Sox: Hey now, you look away for one second and Beckett's through another inning, retiring the side in eight pitches. In his last start, Beckett appeared to have gotten better as his outing went on. It appears to be much of the same in this game.
The Red Sox are sending Gonzalez, Ellsbury and Pedroia to try to knock Buehrle out of the game.
Middle 6th, 3-1 White Sox: Yikes, that two-on, two-out strikeout by Varitek isn't going to do much to silence his critics.
The captain watched a 2-2 changeup cross the plate, stranding a pair and leaving the Sox down a pair.
End 5th, 3-1 White Sox: Beckett gets his first 1-2-3 inning of the afternoon, and the Sox are going to need a few runs.
Middle 5th, 3-1 White Sox: That's a solid at-bat from Martinez, but solid at-bats do not produce runs. Martinez made good contact but lined out right to Alex Rios to end the inning.
3:27 p.m.: Big spot for Mr. Martinez here, but he's looked bad in his first two at-bats with weak rollers to the right side.
3:23 p.m.: Buehrle isn't exactly having trouble retiring Rocco Baldelli and Jason Varitek. The two have gone 0-for-4, seeing a total of 10 pitches in their four at-bats.
End 4th, 3-1 White Sox: Beckett escapes unscathed after giving up a hit and a walk. He's now thrown 64 pitches and doesn't look to be entirely comfortable. Jon Lester said he didn't feel great on Sunday. Maybe it's time for the Red Sox to find a new hotel in Chicago?
3:17 p.m.: Nothing's coming easy for Beckett in this game. Walking Podsednik, though, isn't the worst idea.
3:12 p.m.: Plenty of good seats still available for this one.
Middle 4th, 3-1 White Sox: Lowell grounds into his 20th double play of the season to end the inning. Buehrle has a crisp pitch count of 52 through four innings.
End 3rd, 3-1 White Sox: A mostly ugly inning has a pretty ending for the Red Sox, as Alex Gonzalez guns down Kotsay at the plate. For years, the concept of a cutoff throw from the shortstop was foreign to the Red Sox, as Julio Lugo bounced throw after throw off line to the plate.
Still, Beckett had some command issued in the third, hitting a batter, walking another and giving up a pair of hits.
2:52 p.m.: Beckett's 100-mph throw to first on a sacrifice bunt tells you all you need to know about what Beckett thinks about sacrifice bunts.
2:50 p.m.: Podesdnik can't get out. He forgot how.
Middle 3rd, 1-0 Red Sox: Buehrle cruises through another inning, despite a one-out double by Pedroia. This game, much like Sunday's, is on fast forward.
2:44 p.m.: Eck makes the case for Lester for Cy Young. Here's where he stands in the AL:
ERA — 7th (3.44)
Wins — 11th (12)
IP — 11th (180 2/3)
SO — 3rd (204)
Great season from Lester, but I wouldn't count on a Cy Young.
2:42 p.m.: It's flat out difficult to look at A.J. Pierzynski when he takes the mask off. Just a hard guy to look at.
End 2nd, 1-0 Red Sox: Beckett again works around a leadoff single, retiring Quentin, Getz and Rios in order after Mark Kotsay singled up the middle.
Both pitchers have thrown 27 pitches through two innings.
Middle 2nd, 1-0 Red Sox: That was the fastest half inning ever. Seven pitches, three outs for Buehrle.
End 1st, 1-0 Red Sox: Beckett works around the leadoff single, getting a groundout and back-to-back strikeouts. So far, so good for the journey known as the Return to Acedom.
2:21 p.m.: Both leadoff hitters are on fire, as Scott Podsednik, who went 3-for-4 on Sunday, singles into left to start the bottom half of the first.
Middle 1st, 1-0 Red Sox: Kevin Youkilis fists a bloop single into shallow right-center, scoring Ellsbury from second. Tacoby Bellsbury had swiped second, despite more than a few pickoff attempts from Buehrle.
Beckett's got himself an early lead. No home runs, no home runs, no home runs …
2:12 p.m.: These Chicago crowds in the afternoon are a spirited bunch. One fan just yelled something not so nice at Dustin Pedroia.
2:10 p.m.: It looks like Jacoby Ellsbury picked up right where he left off yesterday. He wreaked havoc on the basepaths, drawing endless attention from White Sox pitching. We'll see if that's the case today.
2:04 p.m.: In case you missed it, Mike Lowell is a scoreboard watcher. He says any player who isn't looking at the scoreboard is lying.
He also talked about how he deals with his extended time on the bench. Of course, he'll only be spending half the day on the bench this afternoon, as he's in the lineup at DH.
1:58 p.m.: Much like yesterday's starter John Danks, Buehrle is a fast worker. Whenever a pitcher works quickly and pounds the strike zone, the Red Sox need to change their approach at the plate.
Rather than grinding out at-bats and working the pitch count, the Sox will need to boost up their aggressiveness in the box.
1:25 p.m.: Tim Wakefield's hopes of starting on Friday were dashed, as the 43-year-old will be skipped in the rotation. Things are certainly getting dicey for Wake, and at this point, it's hard to imagine things will get any better.
12:41 p.m.: Are you ready for some day baseball?
For the first time since April 5-8, 2008, the Red Sox play three (count 'em, three!) day games in a row, hearkening back to the days of yore. Unfortunately, we won't be getting a doubleheader today, but we'll take what we can get.
11:06 a.m.: Here are the lineups for the series finale:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Jason Bay, LF
Mike Lowell, DH
Rocco Baldelli, RF
Jason Varitek, C
Alex Gonzalez, SS
Josh Beckett, SP
Scott Podsednik, LF
Alexei Ramirez, SS
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Jermaine Dye, RF
Mark Kotsay, 1B
Carlos Quentin, DH
Chris Getz, 2B
Alex Rios, CF
Jayson Nix, 3B
Mark Buerhle, SP
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