Red Sox playoff watch

Every day between now and the end of the regular season, we'll check in on where things stand in the playoff race.

Red Sox record: 85-57

Games left: 20

Lead in AL East: 6½ games over Tampa Bay (77-62)

Magic number to win division: 16

What does magic number mean?: If Tampa Bay wins all 23 of its remaining games, Boston would have to win 16 to win the division.

How to calculate magic number: You calculate your magic number by looking at the number of games remaining in the season and assuming that your nearest competitor will win all of their remaining games. Then you see how many games you still need to win to ensure the division title even with your nearest competitor winning all of their remaining games.

Overall ranking in league (important for determining home field in playoffs): First, 3 games ahead of Detroit, 3½ games ahead of Texas

If season ended today, teams in playoffs: Red Sox, Tigers, Rangers, Athletics, Rays.

What about the Yankees?: Rallied from a five-run deficit only to give up the lead in the ninth and lose in the 10th to the Red Sox, 9-8. They remain 2½ games out of a wild-card spot.

Who’s hot?: In the 23 games he has played since returning from Triple-A Pawtucket, third baseman Will Middlebrooks has posted a slash line of .347/.412/.560/.972, with 4 home runs and 14 RBIs. In his last 8 at-bats, Middlebrooks has 5 hits, including 2 home runs, driven in 5 runs and scored 4 times.

Who’s not?: Rays ace David Price lost for the second straight time on this disastrous West Coast swing, giving up 11 hits in the first three innings to the Angels. The Rays lost to a pitcher, Jerome Williams, who had been 0-8 with a 6.15 ERA since June 12.

Red Sox latest outcome: Beat the Yankees, 9-8, in 10 innings on Thursday.

Rays latest outcome: Lost to the Angels 6-2 on Thursday.

Notable: Terry Francona’s Indians have yet to rekindle Cleveland’s passion for baseball -- there were just over 9,000 in Progressive Field Tuesday -- but they’re hanging around in the playoff race, three games out of a wild card spot. And the Tribe has a soft schedule the rest of the way: 6 games against the White Sox, 4 games against the Astros, 2 games against the Mets. Average record of opponent the rest of the way: 60-78.

Playoff format: AL wild-card play-in game on Wednesday, Oct. 2. AL best-of-five division series begins Friday, Oct. 4.