On Thursday night, the Detroit Tigers’ magic number to win the AL Central dropped to one. Uno. 1. If the Tigers win just one of their remaining 12 games or the Cleveland Indians lose one of their final 15, the division title will go to Detroit.
The race is all but over, but there’s a (very thin) silver lining for Tribe fans: until the magic number hits 0, a playoff berth is still theoretically possible.
The Indians started their hypothetical hot streak off on a poor note last night. Despite a ninth-inning quasi-comeback, Cleveland fell to the Texas Rangers, 7-4. If the Indians are going to make the playoffs, this has to be their last loss of the season.
Luckily, the Indians were not eliminated because the Tigers fell to the Oakland Athletics, 6-1 (meaning Jim Leyland can finally change his underwear), snapping their 12-game winning streak. For Detroit to miss the playoffs, they can’t win another game this year.
Can the Indians make a comeback? In all likelihood, no. But it’s still possible—at least, for one more day.