If and when the Red Sox are eliminated from playoff contention they can point to a recent three-game sweep at the hands of the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park as one of the crushing blows.
Now, with no margin for error in its pursuit of that unlikely playoff spot, Boston is the one in need of a sweep.
The two teams kick off a four-game set in Chicago on Monday night, the final road series of the season for the Red Sox.
Boston has to win its remaining seven games and needs New York to lose its last six just to forge a tie. That scenario emerged after the Yankees topped the Sox 4-3 on Sunday night in extra innings.
Clay Buchholz opposes Mark Buehrle in the opener.
WHEN AND WHERE
Red Sox (86-69) at White Sox (83-72) Monday, Sept. 27, 8:10 p.m. U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago
HEAD TO HEAD
The White Sox have won seven of the last eight meetings.
RHP Clay Buchholz (16-7, 2.39 ERA) vs. LHP Mark Buehrle (12-12, 4.27 ERA)
Buchholz enters his second-to-last start trailing Felix Hernandez by 0.08 in the race for the American League ERA crown.
The righty has allowed just one earned run in 13 innings over his last two starts, striking out 11 and giving up only eight hits. He is 9-3 on the road this year but is 0-2 with a 9.95 ERA in three starts against Chicago in his career.
Buehrle has not won a game since Aug. 19. He is 0-3 with a 5.92 ERA in six starts during that span. The veteran gave up five runs on 11 hits in a loss to Oakland six days ago.
In 15 games (14 starts) vs. Boston, Buehrle is 6-5.
Marco Scutaro, 2B Darnell McDonald, RF Victor Martinez, C Adrian Beltre, 3B David Ortiz, DH Mike Lowell, 1B Led Lowrie, SS Bill Hall, LF Ryan Kalish, CF
Juan Pierre, LF Omar Vizquel, SS Alex Rios, CF Paul Konerko, 1B Manny Ramirez, DH A.J. Pierzynski, C Carlos Quentin, RF Alexei Ramirez, SS Brent Morel, 3B
Catcher Victor Martinez is batting .400 (18-for-45) during his 11-game hitting streak.
Closer Jonathan Papelbon has four blown saves in 19 career chances vs. New York.
The Sox are 5-11 in extra inning affairs.
Outfielder Juan Pierre has 61 steals, four shy of a career high.
Designated hitter Manny Ramirez is batting .242 with one home run in 21 games with Chicago.
The White Sox have 40 wins at home this year, fewer than all but four teams in the American League.
BLACK AND BLUE
First baseman Mike Lowell was removed from Friday's game after taking a ground ball off his right temple. He showed no signs of a concussion and is day-to-day.
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 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 will not pitch again this season but hopes to throw a bullpen session before the regular season ends.
Right-hander Junichi Tazawa underwent Tommy John surgery in March. He is out for the year.
Right-hander Gavin Floyd may not pitch again this year after leaving his last start with shoulder tightness.
Second baseman Gordon Beckham has been bothered by a bruised right hand.
Right-hander Bobby Jenks is out with a sore right forearm.
Right-hander Jake Peavy had season-ending surgery to repair a detached muscle in his back on July 14.