So now we're at 46? or 45? I admit, I don't really get how the "magic number" works until it gets to be under 10. We're up 4.5 with 49 games to play. The Braves have 50 left. If we won 45 games, aside from finishing with 114 wins, which would be pretty damned cool, we'd force the Braves to go 50-0 to tie, so that makes our magic number 45, right? Any combination of 45 Nats wins or Braves losses?
Ah, who cares. Just win.
Of course, LY, we have 6 head to head games with the Braves, so it impossible for them to go undefeated and us to have only 4 losses.
Simple way to calculate the basic magic number is 163 - (your wins + their losses). Right now, that is 163 - (70 + 47), or 46. Any combo of 46 nats wins and braves losses clinches the division. The MLB standings page tracks this as the E#. http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/standings/index.jsp?tcid=mm_mlb_standings
Back to Nats / Braves - if we have 4 losses, that means we've beaten the Braves twice because we have 6 head to head. 2 Braves losses plus 45 Nats wins means we clinch. If we go 44 - 5, then Braves only have to lose at least one game to us, but we end up only reaching 45 our wins / their losses and have to have a play in game.