Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

wrigley scoreboard featureThe Cubs managed to hold on against the Giants last night, winning 5-4 and flip-flopping them in the Wild Card standings. The Cubs are now a half-game ahead, but there are three more games to go in the series.

The Dodgers, whom the Giants now trail by 3.0 games out West, combined with the Phillies for 18 runs (seriously, the Phillies are playing so well right now) and won 10-8. For now, the Dodgers are relevant in this space on the chance that the Giants pass them, but hopefully the Cubs do serious damage to that possibility this weekend.

The Pirates were off yesterday, so the Cubs gained a half-game on them as well, pulling to within 3.5 back of the top spot in the Wild Card race. This bears watching because, unlike the rest of the teams in the Wild Card race right now, the Pirates have a brutal near-term stretch coming up, with series against the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Mets coming up in succession.

The Cardinals beat the Reds 3-0, though, so the Cubs moved no closer in the NL Central. They’re still a healthy 9.5 games back. The Cardinals now get a weekend series in Milwaukee.

Also winning yesterday were the Nationals, 8-3 over the Diamondbacks, so they held pace behind the Cubs. They’re 3.0 games behind that second Wild Card spot, and host the Rockies this weekend.

The Mets were idle, so the Nationals moved to within 1.5 games of first place in the NL East. That’s still where I think they wind up, and thus, if you think of the Mets in the Wild Card race, the Cubs have a 1.5 game lead over them. The Mets go to Tampa Bay this weekend.

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