Why are 45 wins lovely?

It's past Valentine's Day, and Chicago White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper is still sending flowers to his top three starting pitchers -— Mark Buerhle, Jose Contreras and Javier Vazquez.

Cooper said recently he needs 45 wins from the front end of his rotation in order for the pale hose to compete in 2008.

Why 45? It turns out that five teams in 2007 received 45 or more wins from their top three starting pitchers, and all five teams made the playoffs:
Team	Pitcher #1	Pitcher  #2	Pitcher #3
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Indians	Fausto	       Sabathia	        Carmona
 (53)	(19)	       (19)	         (15)
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BoSox	Beckett	       Wakefield	Matsuzaka
 (52)	(20)	       (17)	        (15)
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Angels	Lackey	        Escobar	        Weaver
 (50)	(19)	       (18)	        (13)
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Cubs	Zambrano        Lilly	        Marquis
 (45)	(18)	        (15)	        (12)     
-------------------------------------------------
Yanks	Chien-Ming     Pettitte        Mussina
 (45)	(19)  	        (15)	       (11)
-------------------------------------------------
*Dodger Penny           Lowe	        Wolf
 (38)   (16)	        (12)	         (9)
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*For comparison
Note: Billingsley won eight of 29 starts
Copyright © 2008 by John Dewan. "Used with permission from John Dewan's Stat of the Week™, www.statoftheweek.com."

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