There are about 6 weeks left in the season. It’s still too soon to talk about clinching the playoffs or division titles, or magic numbers.
However, there are what I call “black magic numbers”—thresholds of ignominy, guarantees of failure for the season. There are teams rapidly approaching some of those. Let’s look at a few.
Guaranteed losing season:
Clinched— Baltimore Orioles, Arizona Diamondbacks
Soon—Texas Rangers (black magic number 1), Pittsburgh Pirates (2), Miami Marlins (8)
Eliminating from division race:
Soon—Orioles (black magic number 1), Pirates (7), Rangers (9)
Wild Card elimination—
The only team with a black magic number less than 10 for the wild card is the O’s (7). Three others are less than 15, and unsurprisingly it’s the D-backs (10), Rangers (11), and Pirates (14).
The O’s also merit special mention with their current 18 game losing streak. It’s the longest since the Royals did it in 2005, and they are within 3 of their own AL record for futility to start the 1988 season.