Magic Numbers: Five and Eight

On the elevator this morning I was talking with Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy about last night's game. It's amazing how big one win can be, even though it is only one win. A loss last night, and the Marlins are suddenly 3.5 games out, with a chance to cut the margin to 2.5 today. Now, regardless of what happens today, Florida will be no better than 4.5 out with six to play. So you can effectively eliminate them from consideration.

Right now, the magic number to clinch a playoff berth is five. That's the combination of Phillies wins and Brewers losses it will take. Eight is the magic number for the division. But right now, let's just talk about playoffs. The way Milwaukee has been playing, it shouldn't surprise anybody if the Phils are able to clinch before the off day Thursday.