As of today, August 31st, there are only two teams in all of Major League Baseball that have 80 or more wins. The St. Louis Cardinals at 84-46 lead all of baseball with the best record and the Kansas City Royals have the best record in the American League at 80-50.
Despite having a four-game edge on their neighbors to the west, the Cardinals are in a bigger division battle than the Royals. There is no question that each team is going to make the playoffs. According to MLB’s probability charts, both clubs have a 100% chance of playing in the postseason. That is determined by the probabilities based on thousands of Monte Carlo simulations of the remaining season schedule incorporating each team’s year-to-date run differential, current roster composition, playing time projections and remaining schedule.
The bigger focus is winning the division and for that we turn to the magic numbers to clinch. That is the number of combined wins for our teams and the losses of those chasing them in their respective divisions.
With the Royals off day on Monday, their magic number to clinch the A.L. Central is 20. Any combination of Royals wins and Minnesota losses will lower that number.
The Cardinals host Washington and own a 4.5 game lead over Pittsburgh. There is a little more work ahead for the Cardinals, with their magic number at 29.
To determine a club’s magic number, take the total number of games played in a season (162) add (1). Then subtract the wins from the division leader and the losses from the second place team to determine the magic number.
Example for the Royals
163-80 Royals wins = 83, minus 63 Twins losses = 20
For the Cardinals
163-84 Cardinals wins = 79, minus 50 Pirates losses = 29