- Gordon Edes, Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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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: 88-58.
• Games left: 16
• Lead in AL East: 8½ games over Tampa Bay (78-65)
• Magic number to win division: 10
• What does magic number mean? If Tampa Bay wins all 19 of its remaining games, Boston would have to win 10 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, 4 games ahead of Oakland, 4 ½ games ahead of Detroit.
• If season ended today, teams in playoffs: Sox, Tigers, Athletics, Rangers, Rays.
• What about the Yankees? Rallied to beat the Orioles, 7-5, to pull within two games of Rays in wild-card race. The injuries continue to mount: reliever Boone Logan has a bad elbow, starter Ivan Nova has a triceps muscle issue, Alex Rodriguez came out of the game with a tight hamstring, and the Yanks acquired shortstop Brendan Ryan in case Derek Jeter doesn’t return. But the Yanks hang in there. “It’s nothing new,” Mariano Rivera told Joel Sherman of the New York Post. “We have been in this situation all year. We will have to find a way to get it done. We will find a way. Someone will step in, someone will step up.”
• Who’s hot?: The Royals kept their long-shot postseason hopes alive by beating the Indians, one night after squandering a ninth-inning lead to the Tribe. Reliever Luke Hochevar stranded two runners by striking out two in the seventh, and then struck out the side in the eighth inning while lowering his ERA to 1.70. Hochevar has allowed just 2 hits while striking out 17 and walking none in his last 10 2/3 innings, spanning 8 appearances.
• Who’s not?: The Rangers have lost 8 of their last 11 games, and T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com notes that MVP candidate Adrian Beltre has just 2 hits in his last 24 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
• Red Sox latest outcome: Beat the Rays, 2-0, on Tuesday.
• Rays latest outcome: Lost to the Red Sox, 2-0, on Tuesday.
• Notable: The Rays, who were percentage points ahead of the Sox on Aug. 24, have scored just 41 runs, an average of 2.6 a game, while losing 12 of 16 since then. They have just 9 home runs in that span. The Sox, by contrast, have scored 110 runs, an average of 6.9 per game, and are 13-3 in that span.
• Playoff format: AL wild-card play-in game on Wednesday, Oct. 2. AL best-of-five division series begins Friday, Oct. 4.
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: 88-58. • Games left: 16• Lead in AL East: 8½ games over Tampa Bay (78-65) • Magic number to win division: 10• What does magic number mean?