Here’s how to figure out the Cubs’ Magic Number

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 29:  Miguel Montero #47 (L) of the Chicago Cubs celebrates with Ben Zobrist #18 (C) and Willson Contreras #40 after hitting a walkoff RBI single against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the thirteenth inning at Wrigley Field on August 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Cubs won 8-7 in thirteen innings.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 29: Miguel Montero #47 (L) of the Chicago Cubs celebrates with Ben Zobrist #18 (C) and Willson Contreras #40 after hitting a walkoff RBI single against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the thirteenth inning at Wrigley Field on August 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Cubs won 8-7 in thirteen innings. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

CHICAGO — For a second-straight season, the Chicago Cubs have a little magic on their minds thanks to their strong play in August.

Twenty-one wins in the month of August has vaulted the North Siders to a big lead in the National League Central and have made it a question of when, not if, they will capture their first division crown since 2008.

The countdown has begun for Cubs fans in the form of a descending number, better known as “The Magic Number.”

What is it? It’s a combination of the wins by the Cubs and the losses needed by the second place team (right now the Cardinals) to clinch the division. After a victory over the Pirates last night reduced the number to 18 but the Cardinals kept it there with a victory over the Brewers in Milwaukee.

So how is the magic number derived? Here are two simple ways to do it.

  1. Take the number of games remaining in the season and add 1 to that number.
  2. Subtract the number of games the Cubs are ahead in the loss column.

Here is another method to determining the magic number.

  1. Take the number of games in a season (162) and add 1
  2. Subtract the amount of victories by the Cubs
  3. Subtract the number of losses by the second place team (currently the Cardinals)

At the moment, the team is on track to clinch the division around mid-September. Below are some recent dates when the Cubs clinched division championships since their introduction in 1969.

1984 – September 24th at Pirates

1989 – September 26th at Expos

2003 – September 27th vs Pirates

2007 – September 28th at Reds

2008 – September 20th vs Cardinals