Tonight everything for Red Sox, Rays

Jon?Lester is scheduled to throw on short rest tonight.
ABELIMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

Forget April, May and June.

You can get rid of July and August.

For that matter, most of September no longer matters, either.

After 161 regular-season games, the Red Sox and Rays remain tied. For the two teams hoping to earn the American League’s wild-card playoff berth, it is now a one-game season.

Boston finally snapped out of it last night, beating up on the Orioles’ pitching staff in a 8-7 win at Camden Yards.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay came from behind to topple the Yankees, 5-3, at Tropicana Field.

That means the Sox and Rays enter their respective regular-season finales tonight with identical
90-71 records.

There’s no math left at the end of a pennant race that’s been full of half-games, deficits and magic numbers. For each team, it’s a one-game season. If one wins and the other loses tonight, the winning team goes to the playoffs. If both win — or both lose — they’re staring down the barrel of a one-game playoff at 4:07 p.m. tomorrow at the Trop.

Jon Lester will be doing his best to make sure the Sox don’t end up there. He’s scheduled to take the mound on three days’ rest tonight, hoping to improve on three starts that have seen him go 0-3 with a 10.54 ERA.

He’ll be opposed by big Baltimore right-hander Alfredo Simon, who’s 4-9 with a 4.85 ERA on the year.

Tampa Bay will send ace lefty David Price (12-13, 3.35 ERA) against the Yankees. It was still unclear at press time which second-teamer New York would open with.

Ryan Lavarnway was the hero for Boston last night, hitting two home runs the day after stepping in for the injured Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Jacoby Ellsbury and Marco Scutaro also went yard. 


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