Friday September 09, 2011 | 03:58 AM

They have now lost their last three series, defeated in seven of their last 10 games.

The American League playoffs begin in three weeks. Assuming the Red Sox make it, some momentum would be nice.

Here are the standings: 

AL East
New York 87-55
Boston 85-58 (2.5 back)
Tampa Bay 78-64 (9)

Wild Card
Boston 85-58
Tampa Bay 78-64 (6.5 back)
LA Angels 78-65 (7)

New York's magic number to clinch the division: 18.

Boston's magic number to clinch the wild card: 14.

Think the Rays won't be a little focused for their home series this weekend against Boston? A sweep puts Tampa Bay 3.5 games back. The Rays are still a long shot, but while they still have a chance ...

The pitching match-ups:

Tonight: John Lackey (12-11, 6.11) vs. Wade Davis (9-8, 4.50)

Saturday: Kyle Weiland (0-1, 6.75) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (12-10, 2.90)

Sunday: Jon Lester (15-6, 2.93) vs. James Shields (14-10, 2.77)

Pawtucket lost its first playoff game to Lehigh Valley, 4-1. Lars Anderson homered for Pawtucket.

Brandon Moss, the Eastern League championship series MVP in 2006 with the Sea Dogs, showed his post-season form Thursday, going 2-for-3 with a home run for Lehigh Valley.

Former Sea Dogs pitcher Stephen Fife got the start in the Chattanooga Lookouts' opening game in the Southern League playoffs. He gave up 8 hits and seven runs in 3 2/3 innings, in Chatanooga's 9-6 loss to Tennessee.

In the first night of the Eastern League playoffs, New Hampshire beat Reading 2-0. Richmond and Harrisburg were rained out again.


About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases

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