Worth noting

• After three games against the Royals, the Red Sox will play their next 13 games against divisional opponents. They enter Friday 9 1/2 games back of the first-place Orioles, tied for last in the AL East with Tampa Bay and nine games under .500.

Boston will play four at Toronto and three at Tampa Bay, then start a six-game homestand with three-game series against the Blue Jays and Yankees. So there's surely some added significance to that stretch, which ends on Aug. 3.

"Given where we are right now, yes," manager John Farrell said. "That's not to add any pressure. That's to say that there's some additional significance to the games when you play the teams ahead of you."

• Farrell said there's been a lot of discussion about giving Anthony Ranaudo a shot to start for the Red Sox, if a starter is needed at any point this season. Brandon Workman, in Triple-A now, would likely be the first choice, but Ranaudo would likely be next. The 6-foot-7, LSU product has posted a 2.62 ERA and .213 average against in 19 starts with Pawtucket this season.

"He's been talked about a lot," Farrell said of Ranaudo, the club's No. 8 prospect. "The reports have been strong. He's been in the discussion if a starter was needed. He's doing everything he can to impact that."

Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.