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Off-day open thread: Athletics magic numbers

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No game today for the Athletics, but pop into the comments to talk about the games around baseball with the Tigers, Mariners, and Angels playing today. We also take a look at the magic and tragic numbers from the A's point of view.

Al Yellon, Bleed Cubbie Blue

To win the AL West: 29. To lose the AL West: 20

The magic number formula is simply 163 - Oakland wins - opponent's losses. The tragic number formula for Oakland calculates the magic numbers for the other teams in relation to the Athletics: 163 - opponent's wins - Oakland losses.

Magic Number
Tragic Number
LAA 83 55 -- 29 20
OAK 79 60 4.5 XXX XXX
SEA 75 63 8.0 21 28
HOU 61 79 23.0 5 42
TEX 53 85 30.0 Elim. Elim.

Two-team tiebreaker

Any tie atop the West must be broken by an additional game. In the division, every team plays the other 19 times, and first to ten resolves who holds home field in the event of a tiebreaker game.

  • Oakland vs. Los Angeles Angels: Tied 8-8. A's need to take 2 out of 3 in the final series at the Coliseum to win this tiebreaker.
  • Oakland vs. Seattle Mariners: Seattle leads 7-9. A's need to sweep the last series in Seattle to win this tiebreaker.

Three-team tiebreaker

In case of a three-team tie atop the AL West, we ask if any club has won both season series against the other two (left column first, then top row:

OAK 8-8 7-9
LAA 8-8 5-7
SEA 9-7 7-5

None of these season series has resolved, though Seattle leads both the Angels and the Mariners at the moment. If no team ends up having a better record than the other two, however, than we would look to the combined records of the clubs between each other, in a sort of mini-38 game season, to determine who has first choice in a three-team tiebreaker.

Win Loss GB M#
SEA 16 12 --
LAA 13 15 3.0 8
OAK 15 17 3.0 6

To reach the postseason: 21

The A's are sitting in the first wild card position, leading Detroit by three games and Seattle by 3.5. The head-to-head records will be important to determine home field advantage in the Wild Card game in the event of a tie atop the Wild Card, or home field in the event of a tiebreaker game involving the second Wild Card. The magic number calculates A's wins and opponent losses needed for a better record than the listed team, though a tiebreaker may mean that a tie record would be sufficient.

OAK wins Opp. Losses
Magic Number
DET 79 63 21 2-5 M# for home field in the AL Wild Card
SEA 79 63 21 7-9 M# for the second Wild Card (3 to play HTH)
CLE 79 66 18 4-2
NYY 79 66 18 4-2
TOR 79 67 17 4-3
TB 79 73 11 4-2
CWS 79 75 9 2-1 3 to play HTH
BOS 79 78 6 4-3
MIN 79 78 6 6-1
HOU 79 79 5 10-6 3 to play HTH
TEX 79 86 Elim. 7-5 7 to play HTH

In addition to the listed teams, the Kansas City Royals may fall behind the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central. The A's finished the head-to-head against the Royals at 2-5.

Games to watch

Time (PT) Notes
4:05 PM Tigers at Indians AL Wild Card M# = 21
5:10 PM Angels at Twins AL West M# = 29
5:05 PM Mariners at Rangers AL Wild Card M# = 21

Happy watching!