Is it too early to watch the scoreboard? The Rays lost, 2-0, against the Angels today and are now three games behind the Red Sox in the division pending the result of tonight's game at Fenway Park.
The Rays start a 10-game West Coast road trip on Friday in Oakland. Tampa Bay has dropped four of its last five games.
Given the one-game playoff for wild-card teams, winning the division is much more advantageous than it once was.
Meanwhile, a few pre-game notes:
• To clear up any confusion, John Farrell made it clear that Clay Buchholz has two more minor league rehab games to go. One is Friday for Pawtucket and the third on Sept. 4, quite likely with Pawtucket in an International League playoff game.
So pencil in Buchholz on or around Sept. 9. The Sox are off that day but start a series at Tampa Bay the next day. If that is the schedule, Buchholz could get four starts before the end of the regular season.
• Jacoby Ellsbury is back in the lineup after fouling a ball off his right foot and leaving the game on Wednesday. He is sore but able to play, Farrell said.
• The Red Sox took their annual team photo today. Andrew Miller hobbled out there on crutches. Andrew Bailey was around, too.
• Jonny Gomes carried a cricket bat out to batting practice.