The American League-best Red Sox begin their final road trip of the season in Denver on Tuesday, as the Rockies welcome Boston to Coors Field.
Boston, which has already won the AL East, now looks to clinch home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. The Red Sox lead the A's and Tigers for the top spot in the Junior Circuit.
An early clinch brings a week's worth of preparing for the postseason, and the Red Sox are going to take advantage. They'll likely to continue to rest players and already have begun shuffling their rotation, as right-hander John Lackey gets the ball Tuesday against Colorado's Tyler Chatwood instead of originally scheduled Jake Peavy.
Lackey twirled a two-hit gem his last time out against the Orioles, losing his no-hit bid in the seventh.
"I felt pretty good," Lackey said. "I was locating my fastball, had a little bit on it. My arm felt good. I threw a bunch of them tonight. Salty [catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia] called a great game as usual back there. It was fun."
One of the players Lackey likely will face is Rockies utility infielder Jonathan Herrera, who brings a six-game hitting streak into the game. Herrera has been solid all season despite not getting consistent playing time.
"Sometimes it's a bit of a curse, being so good at what he does," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Johnny's one of those guys that has gotten so good at being that utility guy that can give you plus defense at any infield position that it's a very valuable piece, especially on a National League club."
Red Sox: Ellsbury should be ready for playoffs
The optimistic guess for Jacoby Ellsbury's return from a compression fracture in his right foot is Wednesday's series finale but, at the very least, he expects to be full-go for the playoffs.
"The goal is to [test my foot] before I play, so that will be the goal, to try to get all the stuff out of the way before I actually get in the game," Ellsbury said. "The doctors are very pleased; definitely ahead of schedule. The team, myself, feel very good about it."
• The Red Sox have won 26 more games than last year, marking the club's largest increase in wins -- outside of strike-shortened seasons in 1981 and 1994 -- since 1946.
Rockies: Fowler still a go
Dexter Fowler re-aggravated his left knee on Saturday that was initially injured on Aug. 26. He's mostly been limited to pinch-hitting since the injury, and Weiss is still thinking about shutting down Fowler for the year.
"It's possible," Weiss said of ending Fowler's season early. "The fact that he re-aggravated that injury, I think it's not out of the question. It's also not out of the question that he could make an appearance again, but we're coming to the end here, so it's possible that he may not."
• Boston's Jarrod Saltalamacchia has a seven-game hitting streak.