Now knowing they'll make it into the postseason after a 3-1 win against the Orioles on Thursday, the Red Sox will face the Blue Jays on Friday at Fenway Park in their final home series of the regular season. With a magic number of one to clinch the American League East title, Boston can achieve one of its goals with a win or a Tampa Bay loss.
"We know where we're at. We know what was pending. We still feel like the next step is a more important one than this. We know that we're in," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We've said a few times that winning the American League East, that's been a stated goal since Day One of Spring Training. That's getting closer. I think that will be more the realization of where we've come from and where we are at that moment."
The Sox will send ace Jon Lester to the hill as he looks to continue his current hot streak. Since the All-Star break, the left-hander has gone 6-2 with a 2.38 ERA in 11 starts. He's also tossed eight straight quality starts.
On Saturday against the Yankees, he allowed just one run on three hits in eight innings for his 14th win of the season. The win also moved him to 6-1 with a 3.25 ERA at Fenway this season.
"It's more about him having confidence in his pitches," Farrell said after the start. "That's what reduces the frustration with him and allows him to not carry the previous pitch into the next one, and that frustration is eliminated. That's where he's been for pretty much the whole year, with the exception of that month stretch where things were hit and miss for him."
In five starts against the Blue Jays this season, Lester is 3-0 with a 2.80 ERA.
Meanwhile, Esmil Rogers gets the call for Toronto. It has been a great September for the right-hander, who has tossed three straight quality starts.
In his previous outing against the Orioles, he allowed three runs on five hits in six innings for the no-decision. Before that, Rogers had tossed 14 innings without allowing a run.
"I just think about giving the opportunity to win the game and try to help the team," Rogers said. "I know they are good hitters, but if you make a good pitch, you're going to be better than them. The only way you can get out people is when you make good pitches."
In six games (two starts) against the Red Sox this season, Rogers is 0-1 with a 4.40 ERA.
Blue Jays: Encarnacion has surgery
• Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion had surgery to remove cartilage from his injured left wrist on Thursday in Cleveland. All reports are that the surgery was successful.
"Eddy had his surgery today, it went well," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.
Encarnacion was shut down for the remainder of the season on Tuesday due to lingering pain in his wrist that caused him discomfort when he swung a bat.
Recovery time is expected to be about two months and should have no effect on his offseason training.
Red Sox: Victorino day to day
• Shane Victorino was out of the Red Sox's starting lineup on Thursday because of a jammed right thumb.
"Shane is day to day right now," Farrell said. "He's obviously not in the lineup. He came out last night a little bit sore with that thumb. There are really no other updates as of today."
Victorino's current injury is just one of many he's had to deal with this season. He's also had back issues, along with hamstring and hip troubles.
"No [concern], other than the fact that he does need some time right now to get ahead [of it]. But there's not an overriding concern that he's not going to be available," said Farrell.
• Farrell made a slight tweak to his pitching order for the weekend series against the Blue Jays, flip-flopping Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront. Buchholz will now pitch on Saturday, while Doubront will start the final home game of the regular season on Sunday.
• Over his last 10 games, Adam Lind is batting .324 (11-for-34) with five home runs and 13 RBIs.
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.