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Wednesday, September 4, 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: 83-57

Games left: 22

Lead in AL East: 5½ games over Tampa Bay (76-61)

Magic number to win division: 19

What does magic number mean?: If Tampa Bay wins all 25 of its remaining games, Boston would have to win 19 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, 1½ games ahead of Detroit, 2 games ahead of Texas

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

What about the Yankees?: 2½ games out of a wild-card spot

Who’s hot?: Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who said he was retiring in spring training, registered his 40th save Tuesday, his ninth 40-save season, tying Trevor Hoffman for most ever. Manager Joe Girardi said he hopes Mo reconsiders this quitting thing.

Who’s not?: Rays third baseman Evan Longoria had two hits Tuesday, but in his last 9 games he’s batting .118 (4 for 38) and does not have an extra-base hit in that span.

Red Sox latest outcome: Beat the Tigers 2-1 on Tuesday.

Rays latest outcome: Beat the Angels 7-1 on Tuesday.

Notable: Matt Moore, out since July 28 with a sore elbow, won his 15th game as the Rays scored as many runs as they had in previous five games combined. Rays were 13-18 without Moore, 24-7 in the previous 31 games with him.

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