The Milwaukee Brewers not only have the ability to clinch the playoffs with a win tonight.
If they win and get a little help, they can make sure they're at home for their first postseason game.
We did the math for you. Here are the scenarios:
- To clinch a wild card berth
It's very simple. The Brewers (91-67) simply need to win tonight in St. Louis against the Cardinals.
- To clinch home field for a Wild Card game
The Brewers need a win and a Los Angeles Dodgers (88-70) loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Why Dodgers (88-70), not Rockies (87-70), even though the "magic number" for the Brewers against the Rockies would then be 1 with a Brewers win?
We warn you, the answer is complicated:
Because "1" means a tie at the end of the regular season. If the Brewers win tonight, the best the Rockies can do is tie Milwaukee at 92-70 at the end of the regular season and then lose a 1-game NL West playoff to the Dodgers.
This would mean the two Wild Card teams would be the Brewers and Rockies. They would not hold a one-game playoff to decide home field for the Wild Card between two teams who would have the same record.
Instead, MLB would simply use the head-to-head tiebreaker, which the Brewers own, so they would host Colorado on Tuesday.
If the same happens and the Brewers and Dodgers tie at 92-70 and the Dodgers lose that one-game playoff to the Rockies, then the two Wild Card teams would be Milwaukee and Los Angeles.
The Dodgers would have home field based on head-to-head record, so they would host the Wild Card game.
A Brewers win tonight means the worst they could do is 92-70. A Dodgers tonight loss means the best they could do is 91-71, meaning the Dodgers can't catch Milwaukee if the Brewers win tonight.
Of course, the Brewers are also in the race for the NL Central, just a half game behind the Chicago Cubs. They could take the lead in the division with a win and a Cubs loss.
Win the division, and the Brewers' first postseason game would be at Miller Park anyway for Game 1 of the NLDS, and all that crazy advanced calculus above (which gave us headaches) happily means nothing.
No matter what, for the Brewers to clinch anything tonight, they must win.
Stay tuned for what may be one of the happiest regular season nights in Brewers history. (5:40 p.m. tonight on WTMJ).