I guess a big part of the reason Scoreboard Watching has been a lot less fun as the Cubs are losing games – three in a row! batten down the hatches! – is that the distance between themselves and some of the teams they are chasing keeps growing. That ain’t fun.
That includes the Pirates, who won again last night, 4-1 over the Diamondbacks. Combined with the Cubs’ loss, the Pirates now have a 4.0-game buffer in for that first Wild Card spot. Certainly not insurmountable by the Cubs, but a much larger gap than it was even just a few days ago.
The Pirates didn’t gain ground in the Central, though, as the Cardinals won, keeping the Pirates 5.0 games back. The Cardinals win, of course, means that the Cubs fell an additional game back in the Central. That deficit is now 9.0 games, and I think it’s time to root in earnest for the Cardinals to beat teams like the Giants and Pirates.
Speaking of which, that Cardinals win – which came on a late Yadier Molina home run – came over the Giants, keeping them 3.0 games behind the Cubs for the final Wild Card spot. I am already terrified for the series in San Francisco next week.
The Nationals have won back-to-back games, and, paired with the Cubs’ losses, that puts them back in the discussion here, trailing by 7.5 games. They’re just 3.5 games behind the Mets in the East, though, so that’s their likeliest playoff path. That, in turn, then, means the Mets are kind of on the radar as a Wild card contender – they’d be only 4.0 games back of the Cubs.
Looking ahead, the Giants now head to Pittsburgh for four really important games there. Not unlike this past week, if the Cubs are winning, I don’t really care who wins or loses among the Pirates and Giants, because it’s good either way. If the Cubs keep losing, however, I think you’ve got to be pulling for the Pirates.