The Red Sox enter Saturday night's game at Tampa Bay having lost five of their last six games. If not for Jon Lester's seven shutout innings Tuesday in Toronto, matters might look even more worrisome.
Losses are momentary, though, so the biggest concern for the Red Sox going forward isn't the 1-0 heartbreaker on Monday or the 11-10 shootout on Wednesday. The most pressing issue is the health of the starting pitching rotation with just three weeks remaining to sew up a playoff spot.
Before John Lackey had to leave Friday's game after taking a line drive off the shin, Boston was already dealing with uncertainty involving two-thirds of its starting rotation (in addition to Clay Buchholz's continued absence). Erik Bedard was skipped in the rotation, and Josh Beckett is also being skipped.
It's not the ideal way to close out the regular season, but in the middle of a huge series with the Rays — currently 5 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the AL Wild Card race — and one more three-game series with the Yankees on the way, the Red Sox will ask Kyle Weiland, Tim Wakefield and Co. to deliver once again.