The Red Sox locked up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs on Saturday, taking any remaining pressure out of Sunday's regular-season finale against the Orioles.
"That's a pretty big accomplishment for our team," said second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "There's a lot of great teams. We've got the best record. It sets us up nicely. We've still got to go out and play well, obviously. It doesn't matter where you're playing. But it helps us that we get to hit last."
When the Red Sox had home-field advantage in 2007, they stormed back from a 3-1 deficit in the American League Championship Series to beat the Indians at Fenway Park and advance to the World Series, which they eventually won.
"That's what we wanted," said Pedroia. "That's why you play. It's a huge advantage. From 2007, you get the last couple games in the ALCS at home, that helps. Then the next year, we had to go to Tropicana [Field in St. Petersburg] to play, it's a big difference."
Even with the best record in the American League, the Red Sox are still planning on starting most of their regulars on Sunday, when Allen Webster is scheduled to take the mound.
"If we were to turn right around and play on Monday, that might be a little bit different," manager John Farrell said. "But the fact is, we're going to have four days between games played, and I think it's important and I know our guys are not going to want to take off because of that break, and we'll obviously have [Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz] back in there to begin with."
Webster was given the start on Sunday morning, after Farrell decided to give veteran John Lackey some extra rest.
The Orioles, meanwhile, are out of the playoff picture, though Sunday will provide one last chance for starter Chris Tillman to extend his already impressive 16-7 record. The 25-year-old took major strides this season, his fifth with the O's. He raised his strikeout rate from 6.9 to 7.8 per nine innings, while posting a 3.62 ERA in 201 1/3 innings.
"We depended so much on him over the year, and he very seldom disappoints," manager Buck Showalter said. "I'm real proud of him and what he's accomplished this season."
Red Sox: Ortiz goes 30-100 again
Surely one of the primary concerns for whichever team faces the Red Sox in the postseason will be containing Ortiz. With a .960 OPS this season, Ortiz has often been worked around in the lineup, drawing a career-high 27 intentional walks.
And Ortiz, 37, hit his 30th homer of the season Friday and joined Ted Williams as the only players in Red Sox history with seven seasons of 30 homers and at least 100 RBIs.
"It's a huge honor for myself to be mentioned with one of the greatest that ever played the game in this organization," Ortiz said. "Got to keep the line moving and try to keep on producing for this ballpark."
Orioles: Roberts hoping to resign with O's
Brian Roberts, who will finish a four-year, $40 million contract with the Orioles when the season ends on Sunday, said returning to Baltimore is a priority and the team is his first choice.
"Not a whole lot of people get the opportunity to play in one uniform their entire career," said Roberts, who was drafted by Baltimore in 1999. "To be somewhere else would definitely be a little bit weird. [I] certainly understand it may be a possibility, but there's a lot of factors that aren't in my hands. But I'll give it every possible chance and we'll see what happens."
• Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava was 4-for-4 Saturday to push his average to .303.
• While the current plan is for Manny Machado to rest his injured left knee, he'll get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, Fla., on Monday.