So ... you’re saying there’s a chance?
The Red Sox clawed back a bit of ground in the wild-card race Saturday with a win over the Royals — and a little help from the defeated Rangers and Astros — and can claim the series on Sunday afternoon.
Chris Sale is on the mound for the finale. The lefty had a rocky August, going 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA over his last three starts.
The Royals will likely deploy righthander Taylor Clarke as an opener. Clarke has only thrown multiple innings in three of his 48 appearances this season.
RED SOX (70-66): Verdugo RF, Devers 3B, Turner DH, Casas 1B, Duvall CF, Yoshida LF, Story SS, Valdez 2B, Wong C
Pitching: LHP Chris Sale (5-3, 4.75 ERA)
ROYALS (42-95): Garcia 3B, Witt Jr. SS, Olivares DH, Perez C, Velazquez RF, Duffy 1B, Loftin 2B, Taylor LF, Blanco CF
Pitching: RHP Taylor Clarke (2-4, 5.44 ERA)
Time: 2:10 p.m.
TV, radio: NESN, WEEI-FM 93.7
Red Sox vs. Clarke: Adam Duvall 1-1, Reese McGuire 0-1, Trevor Story 3-11, Justin Turner 1-5, Luis Urías 0-3, Alex Verdugo 0-7
Royals vs. Sale: Matt Duffy 1-7, Salvador Perez 18-66
Stat of the day: Chris Sale has 12 career wins against the Royals — his most wins against any opponent — with a 2.73 ERA in 35 outings.
Notes: Duvall was named American League Player of the Week for the stretch between Aug. 21-27. He is hitting .422 (19 for 45) with six doubles, seven homers, and 15 RBIs in his last 12 games. ... Despite recording a multi-run inning in 18 of 19 games and scoring an average of 5.8 runs per game in that span, the Red Sox are 9-10 since Aug. 13, surrendering 6.2 runs per game ... Red Sox starters averaged 3 ½ innings while posting a 9.35 ERA and being outscored 46-17 during a five-game losing streak that ended in Saturday’s 9-5 win over the Royals ... Sale hasn’t pitched more than five innings since May 20 against the San Diego Padres. He hasn’t lost to Kansas City since 2016, going 4-0 in five starts since then ... Brennan Bernardino has been activated, with Garrett Whitlock on the bereavement list ... In his three career appearances against Boston, all in relief, Clarke is 1-0 with a 10.13 ERA, having allowed three runs and four hits in 2 ⅔ innings ... The Red Sox enter the day 5 ½ games out of a playoff spot, with FanGraphs giving them a 5 percent chance to make the playoffs.
Amin Touri can be reached at email@example.com.