W2W4: Sox can play ultimate spoiler

October, 3, 2012
10/03/12
11:07
AM ET


Tonight’s season finale in the Bronx doesn’t mean much for the Red Sox, but it’s absolutely critical for the Yankees, who sit one game ahead of the Orioles in the AL East.

If the Sox beat the Yankees tonight and the Orioles also win, it would force a one-game playoff between the teams on Thursday in Baltimore, the winner awarded the AL East title and a pass to the ALDS. The loser of that game would get the wild card and have to play in a play-in game against either the Rangers or Athletics.

Here are five stats to note heading into tonight’s season finale at Yankee Stadium, where Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-6, 7.68 ERA) faces off against Hiroki Kuroda (15-11, 3.34 ERA). The game (7 p.m.) is on ESPN and WatchESPN (except in Boston and New York markets):

1. The Yankees had a 10-game division lead after the games of July 18 (led Orioles by 10 and Rays by 10). They are now tied with the Orioles. Since July 19, the Yankees have gone 37-33 and the Orioles 46-24.

2. According to Elias, only twice during the Divisional Era (since 1969) have the Yankees failed to win the AL East after leading the division outright at any time in September. In 2010, the Yankees finished second but made the playoffs. In 1974, they finished second and missed the playoffs that year.

3. The Yankees won last night after trailing 2-1 entering the ninth inning, their first win this season when trailing after eight innings (now 1-58). They were the only winless team when trailing after eight innings.

4. The Red Sox have had a dreadful season by all accounts, going 69-92 -- it’s their first 90-loss season since going 72-90 in 1966 and it’s their most losses since finishing 62-100 in 1965. They finished 34-47 at home, their worst record at Fenway Park since 1965 (also 34-47), and it’s tied for their fourth-most losses ever at Fenway.

5. The Red Sox have used 56 different players this season, which is the most players used in a single season in franchise history.

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