Another Cubs win yesterday means another chance to gain some ground …
And gain the Cubs did, even in the NL Central, with the Cardinals falling 8-0 to the Padres out in San Diego. The loss – the Cardinals’ fourth in their last six games – brought the Cubs to within 6.5 games of first place in the Central. It’s six games in the loss column, so, if the Cubs went 25-16 over their final 41 games (aggressive, but doable), the Cardinals would have to go 18-22 in their final 40 for the Cubs to tie them. Again, that’d be an aggressive slump for the Cardinals, but it’s doable.
The Pirates are even closer to the Cardinals now at just 3.5 games thanks to Starling Marte’s walk-off homer against the Giants. That’s very reachable, and the possibility of the Cubs facing the Cardinals – not the Pirates – in a one-game Wild Card playoff is becoming more and more plausible. The Pirates’ chances of winning the Central are up over 20% at BP, and all the way up to 27% at FanGraphs. Once again, it’s really unfortunate that both the Cardinals and Pirates are awesome this year, because that’s what’s killing the Cubs’ chances of taking the division.
As for the Giants, the loss dropped them to 5.0 games behind the Cubs (six in the loss column). The Dodgers lost for the fourth time in a row, so the Giants didn’t lose any ground in the NL West (1.5 games out). The Dodgers would be 3.5 games behind the Cubs if they were no longer leading the NL West.