The Cubs got an off-day yesterday in advance of a multi-week stretch without any, so hopefully they rested up well.
In the meantime, the Cardinals and Giants kicked off a critical series, with the Cardinals winning 2-1 thanks to a very strange decision by otherwise excellent defensive shortstop Brandon Crawford in the field (he tried to turn two on his own, rather than flipping to second, even though he was very far away from the bag – he failed, and the game-winning run scored).
The game simultaneously knocked the Cubs back to 8.0 games behind the Cardinals for the Central, and improved them to 4.0 games ahead of the Giants for the second Wild Card spot. So that’s … good? I also like that the Cubs are five games ahead of the Giants in the loss column, which is the most important column when you examine columns this time of year.
The Pirates also lost last night, 4-1 to the Diamondbacks, which brought them back down to 6.0 games behind the Cardinals in the Central. They’re now just 2.0 games ahead of the Cubs for the top Wild Card spot.
The Diamondbacks, by the way, have tied the Nationals as the next team in the Wild Card race behind the Giants. Does that mean we should be tracking the D-Backs in this space? Or does that mean we should drop the Nationals? Each team is 9.5 games back of the Cubs, and their Wild Card odds are just about bupkis.