With the New York Yankees losing 5-4 to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night, accompanied by a Boston Red Sox win; the Bombers magic number lingers at 7 for a postseason berth, and 10 to win the AL East division for another day.
So, what is the infamous Magic Number? And how is it calculated?
To put it simply, it is the number of games a division leading team has to win to secure winning their respective division.
A win drops a division team’s Magic Number down by one; and so does a loss by the team right below them in the divisional standings.
If the AL East leading Yankees want to win the division, they have to win or the Red Sox have to lose a combination of 10 games with 13 games left to play. For a playoff spot, the Yankees need to win and the Red Sox have to lose to form a concoction of 7 games total.
In essence the Magic Number only applies to division-leading teams because the formula is as follows:
So, plug-in the Yankees 90 wins and the Red Sox’s 63 loses:
163 – 90 Yankee Wins – 63 Red Sox Loses = A Magic Number of 10
With the Yankees ahead three games in the loss column over the Wild Card leading Red Sox; for a playoff berth you minus that number, which is three from the Magic Number of 10, which equals 7; and that is the number of games the Yankees need to clinch a spot in the postseason.
I hope my explanation helped, and didn’t just confuse you more. The Magic Number is a pretty straightforward method that only applies to the top team in each division, but in September who else really matters anyway? Actually a lot if you play in the AL East like the Yankees.
The Yankees are currently playing the Blue Jays and with a win their Magic Number to win the division will stand out 9 and 6 respectively. If the Red Sox lose later tonight to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees can knock down their postseason Magic Number down one more.
With the Yankees last 10 games vs. the Red Sox and the Rays, nothing is guaranteed and New Yorkers, Yankee fan or not all saw what happened in Queens back in 2007. So, don’t presume anything about the playoffs just yet.
UPDATE: Also on Friday night, the Detroit Tigers won the AL Central. My sincerest congratulation goes out to skipper Jim Leyland & Co. for a superb finish to the regular season. Hopefully the Yankees will be seeing the Tigers in October, but nothing has been decided yet.
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