Pittsburgh must win today to avoid being eliminated from playoff contention. Well, all they can do is delay the inevitable. As you can see from the RIOT numbers site, the Pirates need to win 18 of their last 18 games to avoid elimination.
I'll show my work too to get full credit:
The Pirates are presently 58-86. So the best they can finish is 76-86.
If they lose today, the best they can do would be 75-87.
St. Louis leads the Central with a record of 75-67. Cincinnati is
second at 71-72 and the Astros are thrid at 70-72. The Padres lead the
wild card at 74-68 and then there are three teams at 72-71 (Marlins,
So, let's say the Pirates max out at 75 wins. If the Cardinals were to
lose every remaining game, the Astros would have to win at least 77
games since those two teams play each other seven times. So if that
happened, the Cardinals and Pirates MIGHT finish tied for second with
But what of the other second place teams. If the Padres were to win
just 75 games, they would have to go no better than 1-19. However, if
the Padres lost that many games they would have to lose at least two
games to the Cardinals, whom they play three times.
So there is no way for the Pirates to finish ahead of St. Louis,
Houston, AND San Diego in the standings.