The Angels have two avenues to October, in fact, with Boston coming back a bit to the Wild Card pack. After Monday's extra-inning loss, the Angels trail Texas in the American League West by five games and trail Boston in the Wild Card race by 4 1/2.
Either way, it's a tough road to the playoffs with only nine games left, and it's something Angels manager Mike Scioscia acknowledged before Monday's game.
"At this point, right now, we need help," Scioscia said. "We obviously can't get in range of Texas to make [the final series in Anaheim] meaningful without [help]. The other thing is we have to win games. Any route you can take [to the postseason] involves us winning games.
"You want to filter ... distractions out as much as you can."
The Angels will lean on right-hander Joel Pineiro in Tuesday's game, and Pineiro will be looking to bounce back from a rough start in Oakland last time out. Working on seven days' rest, the veteran lasted only three innings, giving up five earned runs on five hits and two walks. He'd pitched well his previous two outings, giving up a combined four earned runs in 13 innings vs. Seattle and Oakland.
"The sinker's my go-to pitch," Pineiro said. "It stayed up and out over the plate. I put us in a big hole. I wanted to do it badly. It's just been a weird year for me. I feel fine physically. No excuses. I felt great in the bullpen. The ball was coming out hot. Then I got on the mound, and I don't know what happened. Maybe I was nibbling or trying to find the strike zone, being aggressive with all my pitches. I really wish I knew, so I could turn it around."
As for the Blue Jays, lefty Brett Cecil will take the hill after missing his scheduled start last Friday against the Yankees after he sustained a cut on his left index finger.
Cecil suffered the injury while cleaning a blender in the visitors' clubhouse Wednesday morning in Boston. It's the second time in two years he cut his throwing hand -- he previously injured himself while cutting chicken during Spring Training in 2010.
Angels: Trout back in the water?
Scioscia said he expects rookie outfielder Mike Trout to be back in the lineup against Cecil after sitting out Monday's series opener with a bruised left leg. Trout took a foul ball off the leg Saturday night in Baltimore and felt some lingering pain in a pregame workout Monday.
Center fielder Peter Bourjos is approaching stats in 2011 that have never been reached collectively in Angels' single-season history (25-plus doubles, 10-plus triples, 10-plus homers, 20-plus stolen bases). Bourjos currently has 25 doubles, nine triples, 11 homers and 21 steals.
Designated hitter Bobby Abreu has reached 20 steals for the 13th consecutive season. It is the longest such streak in the Majors since Rickey Henderson had 23 straight campaigns from 1979 to 2001.
Blue Jays: Rookies rocking
Toronto rookies this season have now combined to hit 44 home runs, which leads the Majors and is the second-most in club history to the 2002 team, which had 48 rookie homers. The Blue Jays have never had three rookie players hit 10 or more homers in the same season. The Jays currently have two first-year players with at least 10 -- catcher J.P. Arencibia (23) and outfielder Eric Thames (10). Brett Lawrie is one homer shy of the feat.
Jose Bautista has now reached base safely in 128 of his 140 games this year. No player in the Majors has drawn more walks than Bautista (224) dating back to the start of 2010.
Reliever Casey Janssen has allowed just one earned run over his last 23 1/3 innings pitched, a span of 20 games.
Angels shortstop Erick Aybar is batting .421 (24-for-57) this month after hitting .190 in August. Aybar has set career highs in home runs (10), doubles (31) and stolen bases (28). No Angels shortstop has ever reached 30 stolen bases.
Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar still hasn't been able to resume baseball activities because of an injured left elbow. There is no immediate timetable for his return.