Thursday September 05, 2013 | 05:04 AM

BOSTON — Some thoughts from a wild Wednesday night at Fenway.
Forget the 20-4 score being indicative of the competition between these two likely playoff teams. This game featured two No. 5 starters who will not get a start in the post-season.

That said, Ryan Dempster may only be 8-9 with a 4.79 ERA, but he also has pitched 157 2/3 innings so far, third behind Jon Lester and John Lackey. “Innings by the starting rotation are worth their weight in gold,” manager John Farrell said.

David Ortiz, after two home runs and a double (his 2,000 career hit) is now batting .315 with 26 homer.

Will Middlebrooks was crushing baseballs in batting practice, delighting the fans sitting on the Green Monster. Such swings don’t always translate into a game. This time it did, with Middlebrooks getting his second grand slam.

Brandon Workman was warming up when the game was close, so Farrell brought him in anyway. But look for Workman in tighter situations. See today’s column.

If there was a concern about Jose Iglesias, it was his durability. Injured in previous years, Iglesias seem fine this season. He had played 126 games in the majors and minors. He left Wednesday with shin splints.

Boston moved 2 1/2 games ahead of Detroit for the best record in baseball (and home field advantage in the American League playoffs).

The Rays beat the Angels 3-1 on two home runs and three RBI from Will Myers, so the Red Sox magic number is reduced by only one, to 18.

Red Sox 84-57
Rays 77-61 (5.5 games back)
Yankees 75-64 (8)
Orioles 73-65 (9.5)

Boston’s magic number: 18 (combination of Red Sox wins and Rays losses)

Boston (21): at Yankees (4), at Rays (3), Yankees (3), Orioles (3), Blue Jays (3), at Rockies (2), at Orioles (3).

Rays (24): At Angels (1), at Mariners (3), Red Sox (3), at Twins (3), Rangers (4), Orioles (4), at Yankees (3), at Blue Jays (3).

The Yankees just swept the White Sox and now host Boston for four games:

The pitching match-ups:
TONIGHT: Jake Peavy (3-1, 3.18) vs. Ivan Nova (8-4, 2.88)
FRIDAY: Felix Doubront (10-6, 3.89) vs. Andy Pettitte (10-9, .01)
SATURDAY: John Lackey (8-12, 3.22) vs. David Huff (2-0, 1.13)
SUNDAY: Jon Lester (13-8, 3.88)) vs. Hideki Kiroda (11-10, 2.99)

In the minor league playoffs:

Triple-A International League: Rochester 7, Pawtucket 1 (Anthony Ranaudo: 2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 K … Bryce Brentz 2-for-4, HR)

Double-A Eastern League: Trenton 6, Binghamton 5 (10 innings); Harrisburg 5, Erie 4

Advanced A Carolina League: Salem 1, Myrtle Beach 0 (10 innings): Luis Diaz: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K … Cody Koback walk-off RBI single … Mookie Betts 2-for-3.

New York-Penn short-season A: Aberdeen 5, Lowell 4

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.

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