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Thursday, September 5, 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: 84-57.

Games left: 21

Lead in AL East: 5½ games over Tampa Bay (77-61)

Magic number to win division: 18

What does magic number mean? If Tampa Bay wins all 25 of its remaining games, Boston would have to win 18 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, 2½ games ahead of Detroit, 3 games ahead of Texas and Oakland

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

What about the Yankees? Finished three-game sweep of White Sox, 2½ games out of a wild-card spot, about to play the Red Sox four in New York, before coming to Boston next weekend for three more.

Who’s hot?: The Red Sox became the first team to hit eight home runs in a game since the Blue Jays hit eight in a 17-11 win over the Rays in Rogers Centre on Aug. 7, 2010. It was the 21st time in major league history a team has hit eight or more home runs. The Blue Jays hit a record 10 in a 18-3 win over the Orioles on Sept. 14, 1987, in Exhibition Stadium. The Jays were managed by Jimy Williams, who 10 years later managed the Red Sox.

Who’s not?: Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, scheduled to face Jon Lester and the Red Sox on Sunday, is 0-3 with a 7.43 ERA in his last four starts, and has given up six home runs in 20 innings.

Red Sox latest outcome: Beat the Tigers 20-4 on Wednesday.

Rays latest outcome: Beat the Angels 3-1 on Wednesday.

Notable: If the season ended today, Red Sox closer Koji Uehara would be the greatest strike-thrower since 2000 (min. 850 pitches). He is at 73.17 percent. Uehara has never thrown fewer than 69 percent of his pitches for strikes since coming to the big leagues in 2009.

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