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Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Red Sox playoff watch

By Gordon Edes

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: 82-57

Games remaining: 23

Lead in AL East: 5½ games over Tampa Bay (75-61)

Chances of making the playoffs: 98.5 percent (according to coolstandings.com)

Magic number to win division: 20

What does magic number mean?: If Tampa Bay wins all 26 of its remaining games, Boston would have to win 20 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 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. So if Tampa won the rest of its games, it would finish with 101 wins. The Sox would need to win 20 for 102. There are other formulas, but that’s how I do it.

Overall ranking in American League (important for determining home field in playoffs): First, one-half game ahead of Detroit

If season ended today, teams in playoffs: Red Sox, Tigers, Athletics, Rangers, Rays. Athletics and Rangers tied atop the AL West.

What about the Yankees?: 2 1/2 games out of a wild-card spot

Who’s hot?: Athletics have won 8 of their last 10; Red Sox have won 7 of their last 10

Who’s not?: Rays have lost 8 of their last 10, including last 5.

Red Sox latest outcome: Lost 3-0 to Tigers on Monday.

Rays latest outcome: Lost 11-2 to Angels on Monday.

Notable: Rays manager Joe Maddon, after the Rays’ latest loss: "When Winston Churchill was managing the London Fogs in the British Rounder League I think at one time he said, ‘When you're going through hell, just keep on going.’ And that's about all we can do right now.’’