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Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

Saturday’s loss to the Blue Jays was sort of exactly what we expected out of the hungover Red Sox. They had their day to kick back, relax and recover from not only a long night of celebration, but the culmination of a long season.

Wait, though, because it’s not over. And today you’re going to see the AL East Champs – that’s just fun to say – back on the grind. Boston (94-62) still has a lot to accomplish and today is the day to get back on that track.

Felix Doubront will be making his final start of the 2013 season today. Manager John Farrell has said Doubront, along with Ryan Dempster, will move to the bullpen for the remainder of the year, playoffs included. Doubront is 10-6 with a 4.15 ERA and has been more than what the Sox could have expected out of him in just his second full professional season. The struggling lefty hasn’t made it past the fourth inning in each of his last two starts, giving up 10 earned runs, 10 hits, seven walks and just six strikeouts, while going 3.2 innings each start.

Here is the lineup for the Red Sox today (first pitch – 1:35 pm EDT):

1. Pedroia, 2B
2. Victorino, RF
3. Ortiz, DH
4. Carp, 1B
5. Nava, LF
6. Middlebrooks, 3B
7. Drew, SS
8. Lavarnway, C
9. Bradley Jr., CF

Doubront, P

R.A. Dickey starts for the Toronto (71-83). The knuckleballer is 13-12 with a 4.21 ERA and had perhaps his best outing of the season in his most recent start. Against the Yankees Tuesday, Dickey went seven strong innings, striking out eight, walking two, and allowing just four hits with no runs to beat New York. In his one start against Boston this season, Dickey allowed eight runs (seven earned) in just 4.2 innings.

Ellsbury expected back in Colorado
The Red Sox starting center fielder is close to a return, as Jacoby Ellsbury could join the team as early as Wednesday in Colorado. Boston gets a day off Monday to travel West, plays two games against the Rockies, has another off-day Thursday to come back East for their season finale in Baltimore. If Ellsbury plays Wednesday, he would likely play at least three of the final four games to close out the year in preparation for the playoffs. Ellsbury is recovering from a stress fracture in his right foot.

Home-field watch
With the Red Sox loss and wins by Oakland and Detroit Saturday, Boston’s lead for best record in the American League is down to one in the loss column over Oakland (92-63) and two over Detroit (91-64). The theoretical Magic Number to clinch home-field is six. The A’s have one final home game today against the Twins before hitting the road for two series at the Angels and Mariners. The Tigers finish off a series with the White Sox today and travel to Minnesota and Miami for their season finales.

Wild Card may be down to three
As for the Wild Card race, three teams have separated themselves from the other three. Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Texas are within one game of each other for the two spots, while Baltimore, Kansas City and New York are all three games or more back. Things can change overnight, and this race could be critical for the Red Sox, who may face one of these teams in the ALDS.

Let us know what you think about today’s game by commenting below.

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Ben Whitehead 9/22/2013 11:35:00 AM Edit
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