BALTIMORE -- Just as the Red Sox' second-to-last game of the season was about to get underway, the team clinched the best record in the American League when Oakland lost to Seattle.
But before that outcome, John Farrell had a lineup that didn't include either outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury or DH David Ortiz.
Ellsbury, who got three at-bats Wednesday in Denver and four more here Friday night, sat while Shane Victorino took over in center.
"Part of the every-other-day plan, to get him back on the field for these three games,'' explained Farrell. "We fully expect him to go the full nine innings (Sunday), but he came out of the first two games pretty much as expect from a physcal standpoint, which is fine.''
As for Ortiz, who powered his 30th homer of the season Friday night, it was "just a day off. He'll be back in the lineup (Sunday). But this is a chance, with a lefthanded starter (Wei-Yin Chen) for us to see a couple of righthanded hitters.''
The Sox shifted first baseman Mike Napoli to DH, while Brandon Snyder got the start at first.
* Given the closeness of the wild card race -- three teams separated by one game heading into the final day of the season -- the Sox will go deep into the week having to prepare for several Division Series opponents.
But Farrell said that won't present a problem.
The team has two advance scouts following each of the five National League playoff teams, and most of the American League teams are now being covered by three scouts each.
"We'll be able to adjust when that opponent is identified,'' said Farrell. "We're confident that the process that we're going through right now to cover each team will be in-depth, regardless of the opponent. What we have set up for the work week is set, regardless of who we're playing. We've got scheduled meeting time to cover the opponent that's there. We're confident that, no matter who the opponent is, we'll be ready to go.''
Nor will the four days off be seen as an issue.
"We're going to set up our work as best we can,'' Farrell said. "I'd rather have four days off than possibly playing the next three days.''