After last night's exciting win, the Rockies lead in the WIld Card race by 5 1/2 games. For the first time in Rockies history, we can start talking about "magic numbers". We never could do that in 1995 or in 2007, our other two playoff years, because we were never the frontrunner for the playoff spot and earned them in our final regular season games. Now we are a frontrunner, for the Wild Card spot even if not the division (yet). So, let's examine our current magic number situation after the jump....
As of the morning of September 12th, the Rockies' official magic number is 16 for clinching the Wild Card playoff spot. This means that any combination of 16 Rockies wins or Giant losses will guarantee us a spot in the playoffs.
The Rockies have 20 games remaining, and the Giants have 21. Say the Rockies go 10-10. That means that the Giants would have to avoid losing 6 games or else they will be eliminated and the Rockies clinch a spot in the playoffs. So, the Giants would have to go 16-5 just to tie the Rockies and force a play-in game (assuming the Rockies don't overtake the Dodgers in the meantime).
If the Rockies go a more reasonable 12-8, then the Giants must go 18-3 or the Rox are in the playoffs. Even if the Rockies swoon and go just 5-15 in their final 20, the Giants would have to go 11-10 to tie the Rox, or 12-9 to overtake them for the Wild Card.
In other words, we are sitting pretty! It's not over by any means. As the Rockies themselves proved in 2007, winning out down the stretch can make up for a lot of lost ground. I don't think the Giants have what it takes to go anything close to 18-3, but my bet is that is almost what it will take for the G-men to overtake our Rox.
The fun thing about the magic number watch is that we get to count down the magic number until we clinch a spot. Yes, it would be more fun to overtake the Dodgers and win the NL West. But the point is to get to Rockober, and so the only thing that matters now is the number 16.........and counting.