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How many wins will it take for the Royals to reach the playoffs?

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The Royals still have work to do, but how much?

Ed Zurga

The Royals currently sit in the last Wild Card spot, but with twelve games to go (which includes that suspended game against Cleveland), they still have work to do. But just how much work do they have to do? How many wins will it take to make the playoffs?

Let's take a look at the current standings. First, the American League Central Division.

American League Central Division W L PCT GB
Detroit Tigers 84 67 .556 --
Kansas City Royals 82 68 .547 1.5

Next, the Wild Card standings.

Wild Card W L PCT GB
Oakland Athletics 83 67 .553 --
Kansas City Royals 82 68 .547 --
Seattle Mariners 81 69 .540 1

Here's the easy thing - the Royals just have to stay ahead of one of these teams (Cleveland and Toronto are still technically in it, but would just about have to win all their remaining games to have a chance). There are twelve games left. Here is a table that shows all the possible ways the Royals can finish, and what is the absolute best each of their fellow contenders can do, and still have the Royals clinch a spot over them. So for example, if the Royals finish 8-4 the rest of the way, the Tigers can finish no better than 5-6 for the Royals to win the division outright.

If the Royals finish… Kansas City Detroit Oakland Seattle
12-0 94-68 9-2 or worse 10-2 or worse N/A
11-1 93-69 8-3 or worse 9-3 or worse 11-1 or worse
10-2 92-70 7-4 or worse 8-4 or worse 10-2 or worse
9-3 91-71 6-5 or worse 7-5 or worse 9-3 or worse
8-4 90-72 5-6 or worse 6-6 or worse 8-4 or worse
7-5 89-73 4-7 or worse 5-7 or worse 7-5 or worse
6-6 88-74 3-8 or worse 4-8 or worse 6-6 or worse
5-7 87-75 2-9 or worse 3-9 or worse 5-7 or worse
4-8 86-76 1-10 or worse 2-10 or worse 4-8 or worse
3-9 85-77 0-11 1-11 or worse 3-9 or worse
2-10 84-78 N/A 0-12 2-10 or worse
1-11 83-79 N/A N/A 1-11 or worse
0-12 82-80 N/A N/A 0-12

The good thing is to keep playing in October, the Royals only need ONE of these teams to finish worse. Can it happen?

Since the Wild Card era began in 1995, the average American League Wild Card team has won 94.4 games (in the National League, it has taken just 91.7 wins). If you go back to 1995 and assume the top team out of the playoffs would have been the second Wild Card, the average second Wild Card team has averaged 89.2 wins in the American League (89.0 in the National League). How many wins do the Royals need to make the post-season?