The Red Sox are one John Lackey start away from falling into a tie with the Rays for the wild-card lead.

Oh, how far they've fallen.

Boston entered the day with a 1.5-game lead over Tampa Bay for the AL's fourth playoff spot, but dropped the opener of their doubleheader at New York, 6-2. The Rays, meanwhile, handled Toronto, 5-2.

That means the Sox, who play the Yankees again at 6:30 p.m., will leave the day with either a one-game lead or a tie with three regular-season games to go. And with Lackey on the mound, smart money is on the latter.

 

The big-money righthander just might be the worst starter in the big leagues. His 6.49 ERA is worst in the majors, and he hasn't accounted for a quality start since Aug. 17.

Boston, for what it's worth, has an easier road than Tampa this week. The Sox close the regular season with three at Baltimore, while the Rays host the Yankees.

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