Roaring from behind and then finally winning in extra innings, the Boston Red Sox did more than merely maintain their lead in the A.L. East. Andrew Benintendi hit a two-run single in the 11th inning, Mookie Betts had four RBIs and Boston beat the Baltimore Orioles 10-8 Monday night for their ninth win in 12 games. Xander Bogaerts homered and scored three runs for the Red Sox, who remained three games ahead of the second-place Yankees in the AL East and reduced to four their magic number for clinching a playoff berth.
For those fans of pure playoff chaos, the masochists who derive extreme pleasure out of the idea of a seven-way tie for one playoff spot, you, like the rest of the contenders this time of year, have a magic number: 81. Once the contenders for the second wild-card spot in the American League start exceeding 81 wins, the dreams of anarchy go with it. The idea of the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles ending up in one giant morass of mediocrity is delicious, if altogether unrealistic.
No, Didi Gregorius isn’t Derek Jeter quite yet, which naturally says far more about the Captain’s all-time greatness than anything his superb successor is doing wrong. Yet Sir Didi joined the man who hopes to own the Marlins in one meaningful way Sunday — hitting his 24th homer of the season, tying Jeter’s franchise record for shortstops — and he finds himself in line to trump his predecessor in one buzzworthy way: Jeter never hit cleanup in a postseason game. And right now, your best bet to bat fourth in the Yankees’ next playoff game, projected to be Oct. 3 against the Twins at Yankee Stadium in the one-and-done American League wild-card game, is the man who joined the Yankees for his age-25