The Yankees Magic Number is now 31. According to RIOT Baseball Races, this “is the minimum number of games that this team must win in order to remain in contention for a playoff spot. (This could be either first place in the division or the wild card berth.)”
So, if the Yankees win 31 of their last 32 games, they’re in the play-offs! (Yeah, I’m saying this all in jest.)
And, OK, sure, yes, there’s the “combo” factor – losses by Seattle (or maybe the Angels) count against that number as well, to drive it down.
So, maybe the real numbers to watch are 24 and 30? The former is the Red Sox’ magic number and the latter is the Mariners’ Wildcard magic number. Once those two hit zero, it won’t matter what the Yankees do next.
There’s a chance that Boston could clinch the A.L. East when the Yankees are in Fenway Park on September 14-16. How painful would that be? It will be worse than Opening Day 2005 at Fenway, at least to me. Then again, as the Yankees watch that, if it happens, they have no one to blame but themselves.