The Red Sox have an opportunity to clinch a spot in the playoffs on Wednesday night, but simply earning a berth in the postseason isn't the club's goal.
Boston could clinch at least an American League Wild Card spot with a win over Baltimore and a Cleveland loss to Kansas City, but outfielder Jonny Gomes was quick to point out that there's plenty to play for after that -- including the main goal of winning a division title.
"We're definitely not looking forward," Gomes said. "Obviously you can smell it. Spring Training, offseason, you get yourself ready for 162 games, because you never know. We're in shape for 162 games, and we're going to play all 162 out."
The Red Sox haven't won the AL East since 2007, and their magic number to do so has dwindled to three. Oddly enough, that's their only division crown since 1995, despite the fact that they have two World Series titles and eight playoff appearances since then.
"This team glued together pretty quick, and I think people are starting to check in now, around mid-September," Gomes said. "But we've really been on the same page since Fort Myers. We just have to stay healthy and play the games out."
The Orioles, meanwhile, are fighting to keep their AL Wild Card hopes alive. They sit two games out of the final spot with just 12 remaining, and nine of those contests are against teams in the thick of the playoff chase.
Baltimore will send left-hander Wei-Yin Chen to the hill. Against the Yankees last Thursday, Chen surrendered five runs -- including four in the first three innings -- but he settled down and managed to pitch into the seventh, picking up a no-decision.
Right-hander Jake Peavy, who has allowed two runs or fewer in five of his eight starts for the Red Sox, gets the ball opposite Chen. Since coming over from the White Sox in a non-waiver Trade Deadline deal, Peavy has posted a 3.66 ERA.
He'll be doing his best to get the ball to dominant Boston closer Koji Uehara, who had his club-record streak of 37 consecutive batters retired snapped in Tuesday's 3-2 loss.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter has his own, separate strategy for stopping Uehara, though.
"How do I approach him? We try to be ahead in eight innings so he can't pitch," Showalter said. "That's how you approach him: You keep him out of the game."
Uehara spent the first 2 1/2 seasons of his career with Baltimore, and the club offered him a deal to return before the season.
"They just offered a lot more than we could," Showalter said. "We wanted him back. We miss him. He's a good man. I like him a lot."
Orioles: O'Day may return
Righty reliever Darren O'Day could return to action on Wednesday. O'Day hasn't pitched since Sept. 7 because of tingling and numbness in his fingers.
Showalter said O'Day felt OK after a bullpen session in Sarasota, Fla., on Tuesday.
"We'll see how he feels in the morning when he comes in," Showalter said. "He still has a little bit of soreness from the actual injections, so he seems to be making progress."
Red Sox: Farrell praises depth
The Red Sox may be without starting center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, but they haven't missed a step.
Since Ellsbury sustained a compression fracture in his right foot, Boston is 7-3 with 64 runs scored.
"Much like when we've missed [Shane Victorino] for a number of games or when we miss [Clay Buchholz] for a number of games, the depth continues to play out," manager John Farrell said.
• Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy has just one hit in 14 at-bats against Peavy.
• During his tenure with the Orioles, Showalter is 32-24 against the Red Sox.
• The next Red Sox victory will be No. 93 this season after they lost 93 games a year ago.