There are 20 games remaining in the Red Sox' season. The way the past week has gone it will be a bumpy final few weeks.
Losers of six of their last eight, the Sox take on the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon, hoping to avoid a three-game sweep.
Boston fell to 1-4 in Oakland this year when it dropped a 4-3 decision Saturday night at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. Behind John Lackey the Red Sox took a 2-0 lead into the seventh inning before it all fell apart in a hurry.
The deficit for Boston in the wild card race is 8 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay.
WHEN AND WHERE
Red Sox (78-64) at Athletics (71-70) Sunday, Sept. 12, 4:05 p.m. NESN Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
Beckett has quietly been improving over the past month but has just one win to show for it. He allowed only one earned run in 6 1/3 innings against the Chicago White Sox a week ago, but saw the bullpen allow two inherited runners score and ultimately blow a ninth-inning lead.
Beckett's earned runs have progressively decreased, falling as follows: 7, 6, 6, 3, 2, 1. He is 4-3 with a 4.40 ERA in seven career starts vs. Oakland.
Braden had allowed just a run in 14 innings over two starts before getting beat up a bit against Seattle five days ago. The Mariners reached him for six runs on nine hits in five innings en route to a 7-5 win.
The 27-year-old Braden allowed four runs — one earned — on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings against Boston on July 20. It was his shortest start at home this year.
Lineups will be posted approximately four hours before pitch.
Shortstop Marco Scutaro has three home runs in his last two games.
Right-hander Daniel Bard has allowed six hits and five walks in 5 1/3 innings in September.
Catcher Victor Martinez is batting .392 (22-for-56) over his last 13 games.
Center fielder Coco Crisp has stolen five bases in his last three games and has been successful on his last 20 attempts.
Closer Andrew Bailey on Saturday allowed a run for the first time since July 9, a span of 11 appearances.
Oakland is 44-29 at home but 27-41 on the road.
BLACK AND BLUE
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia had season-ending surgery Sept. 3 on his broken left foot. He is expected to be fully healed for spring training.
Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (ribs) will not resume any baseball-related activities until after the season ends.
Center fielder Mike Cameron had season-ending surgery Friday to repair an abdominal tear.
First baseman Kevin Youkilis had successful surgery to repair the torn right adductor muscle on his right hand. He will miss the remainder of the season.
Left-hander Felix Doubront has pain behind his left clavicle. He has not pitched since Aug. 31 and will not join the team on the trip.
Right-hander Junichi Tazawa underwent Tommy John surgery in March. He is out for the year.
Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff could miss several more days with back spasms.
Outfielder Conor Jackson is on the DL after surgery to repair a sports hernia.
Infielder Adam Rosales is on the DL with a stress fracture in his right ankle.
Right-hander Joey Devine may return this month. He had Tommy John surgery in April 2009.
Right-hander Josh Outman also had Tommy John surgery last year and may start pitching in an instructional league soon.
Designated hitter Eric Chavez will miss the rest of the season with bulging neck disks.
Right-hander Ben Sheets is out for the year with a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow.
Outfielder Ryan Sweeney had season-ending surgery on his right knee on July 7.
Right-hander Justin Duchscherer had season-ending surgery on his left hip on June 7.
The Sox entered this road trip needing to gain one game in each of their seven remaining series to catch Tampa Bay. All they've done is fall further back. A win Sunday might not mean anything more than breaking the club's four-game losing streak in Oakland.