That won't stop the Sox from playing to the end. After taking the series opener against Tampa Bay on Monday, Boston has now won three of its past four and will send southpaw Felix Doubront to the mound to try to keep that streak going.
Doubront (10-9, 5.11 ERA) is hoping to end a subpar streak of his own, having dropped three straight starts while failing to record a win since July 23.
The lefty is coming off his best start since the end of July, allowing the Yankees just two runs through 6 1/3 innings Thursday. He had given up four-plus runs in five consecutive starts prior to that outing.
"This year, the first half was very good, and then I got to struggling in the second half, and I learned from that," Doubront said after his most recent start. "I got a lot of challenges to see, and I think I responded well. I think the second half wasn't that good, but I just want to finish strong and get them next year."
He'll get a chance to play spoiler for a Rays team still clinging to a last gasp of hope in the AL East and Wild Card races.
The Rays, losers of five of their past six, are hoping Jeremy Hellickson can turn their fortunes around Tuesday.
Hellickson (8-10, 3.22 ERA) hasn't gone more than six innings in his past three starts, but he also hasn't given up more than two earned runs in those outings.
Hellickson is 0-2 with two no-decisions in his past four starts, but he has given up just one run in his past two outings, spanning 11 innings.
"We just have to believe that we can do this," Rays manager Joe Maddon said on the club's final stretch of the season. "We've got to come out and we've got to prove it. We've got to do it nightly. We have to have a short memory."
Reds Sox: Chance for youngsters to shine
The Red Sox are using the final stretch of games to gain experience for their younger crop of talent, and Jose Iglesias is taking advantage of the opportunity.
The shortstop has been struggling at the plate, going 2-for-30, but the 22-year-old said he feels that he's turned a corner and expects the results to come.
"I've felt pretty good in the last few days. That's what matters to me," Iglesias said. "I feel more comfortable at home plate. I'm starting to have some good at-bats."
While the hits didn't come again Monday night, Iglesias did score a run in Boston's 5-2 win, and what really matters is the experience.
"He needs to play," said hitting coach Dave Magadan. "He needs the experience of the at-bats and the grinding of the at-bat, the rhythm of the at-bat. For a kid who didn't have a lot of experience when he was younger and came over, I think the big thing is to get those at-bat experiences."
Rays: Fuld nursing hamstring injury
The return of Rays outfielder Sam Fuld is still up in the air, after an MRI on Monday confirmed he suffered a moderate strain in his right hamstring.
Fuld, who was forced out of Sunday's loss to the Yankees with the injury, said he tweaked the hamstring Friday but continued to play through it, hoping it would subside.
Fuld has never dealt with hamstring issues before, but the Rays are being careful to not rush him back to action.
"We can't just push him back out there," Maddon said. "We want to get him well and utilize him in the playoffs."
In 39 games, Fuld is hitting .273 with five RBIs and seven stolen bases.
Rays righty Jeff Niemann remained hopeful that he would make a return this season, even if it meant a bullpen a role.
Niemann still has yet to throw off the mound after suffering a right rotator cuff strain Sept. 1.
The Red Sox have had 27 different players on the DL this season for 24 different stints.