After securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs on Saturday, Sunday's original starter John Lackey was scratched and Allen Webster took his place. Along with Lackey, the Sox rested a few other regulars and in the end fell to the Orioles 7-6, ending the regular season with a 97-65 record and the best record in the American League.
Following a shaky first inning, Allen Webster settled down and pitched three scoreless innings before Felix Doubront allowed five runs over the next 1 1/3 innings. Rubby De La Rosa and Matt Thornton then came on and allowed a run each in less than an inning of work. Ryan Dempster, Craig Breslow and Koji Uehara closed out the game by throwing a combined 2 1/3 shutout innings.
The Red Sox offense finished with 13 hits despite the loss, including two from Quintin Berry (home run) and another two from John McDonald. Mike Napoli and Jacoby Ellsbury also had two hits, including Ellsbury leading the game off with a homer. The Sox were on top 5-0 before allowing seven combined runs in the fifth and sixth innings to ultimately fall in the regular season finale.
The team will be off until Friday before they will host Game 1 of the ALDS at Fenway Park against the Wild Card winner, which has yet to be determined and won't be until Wednesday night.
What they'll be saying: The decision not to start Lackey was made between both Lackey and Farrell as they decided it would be best if he got some extra rest instead of pitching in a meaningless game. Although nothing is official yet, some signs are pointing towards him starting Game 2 at Fenway ... Doubront and Thornton has done little to prove they are deserving of one of the final spots in the bullpen as a left-handed reliever. In fact, before the game Farrell threw around the idea the team could even go with 10 pitchers instead of 11 ... The 97 wins were the most by a Red Sox team since 2004, but the real season begins on Friday where all records are thrown out the window and each team starts 0-0.