With the All-Star break coming to a close today – finally, some baseball tomorrow – let’s take a quick peak at how the Cubs are faring on the year, and in their playoff odds …
- The Cubs’ 47-40 record is third best in the NL Central, and puts the Cubs a game up for the second Wild Card spot, ahead of the Mets. The Cubs presently have the 9th best record in baseball.
- To date, the Cubs have played the second toughest schedule in baseball, per ESPN’s strength of schedule tool, behind only the Tigers.
- Coming out of the break, the Cubs don’t play a team with a winning record, however, until their August 3-5 series in Pittsburgh. Six of the next nine series after that also come against teams without a winning record. This is the stretch for the Cubs to make a move in the division, if that’s to happen.
- None of the playoff odds calculators like the Cubs’ chances in that regard, though. ZiPS puts the Cubs at just 3.2% to win the division. FanGraphs is at a slightly more optimistic 5.1%. Baseball Prospectus is the most optimistic at a still-low 6.7% (it’s unsurprising that BP is the highest on the Cubs, though, because PECOTA really likes the Cubs’ rookies).
- For a Wild Card spot, though, all systems figure the Cubs to be modest favorites. ZiPS gives the Cubs a 55.8% shot at a Wild Card (59.0% overall playoff odds). FanGraphs is at 58.5% (63.6% overall). BP is at 62.6% (69.3% overall). I wonder how the injury to Miguel Montero and impending addition of Kyle Schwarber will impact these figures.