The Tampa Bay Rays have technically not yet clinched a playoff spot, but they are getting very close as October nears.
The Rays magic number to clinch the division is five games, meaning any combination of Rays wins and Boston Red Sox losses adding up to five in the remaining 11 regular-season games would give Tampa Bay the American League East title. Technically if the Rays lost eight of their last 11 and the New York Yankees won all 11 of their remaining games or the Toronto Blue Jays won at least 11 of their remaining 12 games, they could be in the mix as well for the division, but we are talking a minuscule chance of that happening.
Just three wins would be enough for a Wild Card birth, but the Rays will surely have their sights on the division crown after being in first place for so much of the season. Winning the division also means you don't have to play in the winner-take-all playoff in the Wild Card game.
Tampa Bay also still has a good chance at breaking the franchise wins record. Four more wins ties the team record and five more wins breaks it. Seven more wins gives the Rays their first 100-win season ever.
The Rays have five more home games this regular season -- two against the Blue Jays and three against the Miami Marlins -- before heading on the road to face the AL West-leading Houston Astros and the Yankees to end the season.
It's part of the team's quest to return to the World Series in 2021. If the Rays can hang on to their seven-game lead in the AL East, which they should have no trouble doing, it would be the first time they have won the division in back-to-back years.
Tampa Bay marches on Tuesday night when they face the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field.