11 is The Magic Number

Back when I was blogging more, at the beginning of the season, I posted around the number of wins needed to win everything.  The post season is now among us and here’s what I wrote in the Spring:

So who’s going to win those 11 post-season games and take home the trophy this year?  The Cubs are early favorites in the National League and the Red Sox and Indians likely in the American League.  There’s a lot of ball (162 games) between now and the playoffs and we’ll have to wait and see.  I’ll be rooting for my Cubbies to repeat, the first back-to-back series win since the 99-00 Yankees.

Source: 111 – Baseball Economist

After last night’s wild card game we’re down to 9 teams left who can win it all.  Red Sox, Indians and Cubs are among them.  The Cubbies repeated as NL Central champions this year but will not have much in the way of home field advantage possibilities for the postseason.  They are officially the underdogs in a best of 5, NLDS series that starts on Friday against the Washington Nationals.

“Magic Number” in sports parlance (particularly baseball for us here) refers to the number of wins necessary for a particular milestone.  As we neared the end of the season teams start counting down to clinching a spot in the post season and to winning a the division.  I had the fun of being at the game in St. Louis last week when the Cubs magic number went to zero and they clinched the division championship with 4 games left in the season.  A much later date than last year when they rode into the postseason as favorites with home field advantage through the National League playoffs.

So the magic number resets now to 11.  Three to beat the Nationals.  4 more to win the NL Pennant.  And 4 more after that to repeat as World Series Champions.  Three more series to play in, potentially.

The magic number is also referred to as an “elimination number.”  Lose 3 games against the Nationals:  go home.  Not a desirable fate, but will happen to one or the other of the teams.

Friday night is game one in Washington DC.  Cubs will host game 3 (and 4 if needed) at Wrigley on Monday and Tuesday.  If the series goes to 5 games they’ll head back to Washington.  Once the Cubs win a game I’ll hopefully write a little about the teams they could face in the NLCS if they win, but for now we’ll focus at the Nationals.  Next post I’ll hopefully outline some highlights of the the match-up from various sources around the web and baseball world, with some of my own thoughts inserted of course.

It’s October.  The leaves are turning brown and championship baseball is upon us.  Enjoy it!



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