Red Sox playoff watch

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
11:09
AM ET
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: 87-58.

Games left: 17

Lead in AL East: 7 games over Tampa Bay (78-64)

Magic number to win division: 12

What does magic number mean? If Tampa Bay wins all 20 of its remaining games, Boston would have to win 12 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 Oakland, 4 games ahead of Detroit, 5 games ahead of Texas

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

What about the Yankees? Lost the opener of a four-game series with the Orioles, 4-2, to fall 3 games behind the Rays for the final wild-card spot. Yanks have lost 4 of last 5.

Who’s hot?: Brandon Moss, who played briefly with the Red Sox in 2008 before going to the Pirates in the deal in which the Sox shed Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers and acquired Jason Bay from the Pirates, is batting .339 with 8 home runs and 19 RBIs over his last 20 games. The A’s are 13-7 in that stretch. Moss, who is platooned, has 26 home runs in just 400 at-bats. "We liked him going back to his days in Boston," A’s GM Billy Beane told MLB.com. "He incorporated some of the things we like in our players. With Boston, he was playing in a pretty talent-stacked organization, then he hopped and bounced around and got brief looks, and I think, if anything, we were sort of committed to giving the guy an opportunity based on his numbers."

Who’s not?: The Tigers have lost five of their last six, with four of those losses coming against left-handed starters, including Jon Lester. Miggy Cabrera and manager Jim Leyland were ejected in the first inning of Monday’s 5-1 loss to Chris Sales and the White Sox after Cabrera was hit by a pitch that was called a strike because he was unable to check his swing.

Red Sox latest outcome: Lost to the Yankees, 4-3, on Sunday.

Rays latest outcome: Beat the Mariners, 4-1, on Sunday.

Notable: Orioles manager Buck Showalter charged out of the dugout Monday in the first inning to confront Yankees manager Joe Girardi, believing that Girardi had accused Orioles third-base coach Bobby Dickerson of stealing signs. “He was yelling at the third base coach. If somebody’s wearing black and orange, I’m not going to let that happen," Showalter said. “I’ve known Bobby for a long time and when Nicky [Markakis] came across the plate he said that they were yelling out of the dugout at Bobby for some reason and I know Bobby Dickerson pretty well, so I knew that Bobby would have something to say on his way back to the dugout, and he did.” Said Girardi: I am going to protect my players. It was something I saw and I am going to leave it at that."

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

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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