On Sept. 1, the Sox held a nine-game lead, but they're 6-19 in September.
"We still control our own destiny," said first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, a stray voice of confidence from an otherwise somber clubhouse.
"If we win two games and have to play a third, if we win, we're in the playoffs. We all have to be confident. Other people can doubt us, but we have to be confident."
The Red Sox haven't won back-to-back games since sweeping a doubleheader Aug. 27 against Oakland at Fenway Park. They haven't won on consecutive days since Aug. 24-25 in Texas.
"There's not much to say," manager Terry Francona said. "We've backed ourselves about as far as we can go. Hopefully we can come out and play a nice, crisp game."
Said Dustin Pedroia, "I don't know. I'm positive. I think I'm going to get a hit every time. I'm going to make every play. Everyone around here thinks that."