Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

wrigley scoreboard featureThe Cubs took down the Pirates last night, putting them 11 games over .500 and just three games back of those Pirates for the top Wild Card spot. The Cubs’ six-game winning streak is the longest in baseball right now.

The Cardinals also lost last night, 3-2 in Cincinnati, bringing the Cubs to within 8.5 of the leaders in the NL Central. Still probably not going to become relevant by the end of the year, but it’s worth watching. Crazier things have happened. The Pirates are in the way, though, 5.5 back of the Cardinals.

Over in the NL East, both the Mets and the Nationals won, beating the Marlins and Diamondbacks, respectively, which means the Mets held onto their one-game advantage. The Mets have won five in a row, and are sizzling hot since making a number of acquisitions to improve their team (there’s probably not a 1-to-1 correlation there, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt the confidence of the players to see a flurry of additions). The Nationals are three games behind the Cubs in the Wild Card race.

Something to watch on the Mets? They’re 13 games¬†below .500 on the road this year.

Something to watch on the Nationals? Max Scherzer, who started last night, was as dominant as it gets through May, with absurdly low numbers across the board (1.51 ERA, 1.76 FIP, 2.88 xFIP). Since then:¬†2.99 ERA, 2.85 FIP, 2.89 xFIP. Oh, OK. That’s still pretty good. Just not insanely good like he was before. And the xFIP is basically identical. So maybe you needn’t watch this at all, and can instead watch that the guys in the rotation behind Scherzer haven’t been nearly as good or healthy as they were supposed to be.

Immediately behind the Cubs, by 0.5 games, are the Giants, who also won last night, beating the Braves handily. The Dodgers lost, which brought those Giants to within 2.0 games of first in the NL West. I doubt the Dodgers fall off, though, so I still think the team to watch out West, as far as the Cubs are concerned, is the Giants.

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