On Wednesday the Magic Number for the Twins to clinch the American League Central reached 0. They’re division champs for the first time since 2010. Now, the focus shifts to a different magic number. Although this countdown might be significantly shorter-lived.
The Astros won on Wednesday in a game in which Zack Greinke fell two outs shy of a no-hitter against the Mariners. The Yankees lost to the Rays. That means that Houston (105-54) will almost definitely finish with the best record in the American League.
That is, unless the Astros lose every game the rest of the way and the Yankees (102-57) win every game. If they tie in the final standings, Houston owns the tiebreaker.
The “Magic Number” for Astros home-field advantage through the ALCS is 1. Another Astros win or Yankees loss the rest of the regular would seal that up.
IT’S A NIGHT FOR CELEBRATION! 🍾🍾🍾
The @Twins clinched the division, and the SKOR North Twins Show set a new download record!
IT’S TIME TO POP THE BUBBLY! pic.twitter.com/gbkfJIeKix
— SKOR North (@SKORNorth) September 26, 2019
Why is this important? Well, for either fan base anxiously looking past the ALDS and right on into the Championship Series (tisk, tisk) it means that Houston would get home-field advantage, should the two teams meet in the best-of-7 series.
But from a Twins perspective, it means that Houston will get to play the Wild Card team in the American League. That will be whichever team is left standing between the Indians, Rays and A’s. The reward for outlasting those other two clubs in he group is a 5-game in which you get to face Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Greinke.
The Yankees, on the other hand, would have to face the Twins in the ALDS. Say all that you want about the lopsided history between the two teams over the past 20 years, Minnesota is not a team to be taken lightly in October.
New York will play 3 more in Arlington against the Rangers. The Astros get 4 more in Anaheim with the Angels. Any Astros win or Yankees loss and it’s decided: The Twins are headed to New York for Game 1 of the ALDS.