wrigley scoreboard featureOff-days are tough, particularly when they follow a loss. But last night made the off-day a little better, what with a rash of relevant losses. And they were losses by good teams to “bad” teams, which was even more relieving, all things considered.

The Pirates lost again last night, adding up to a sweep in Milwaukee. It’s pretty incredible to see their woes in Milwaukee – not just this year, but pretty much ever since they’ve been good:

Yes, I would say.

The loss dropped the Pirates to 6.5 games back of the Cardinals in the Central, and just 4.0 games ahead of the Cubs. Hopefully the Brewers stay super hot through September 17, by which time they will have played another four against the Pirates and three against the Cardinals. Speaking of those two teams: they start a weekend series today in St. Louis. I mostly say, sigh, go Cardinals – but if the Pirates are going to win, I hope they sweep ’em.

Also losing last night, yet again, were the Giants, who were blasted by the Rockies at Coors Field. (Relatedly, I’m not sure I enjoy the look of any player’s home runs more than Carlos Gonzalez. Such a distinctive YANK on his swing, taking lasers out.)

That’s six straight losses for the Giants, who’ve fallen 7.0 games behind the Cubs in the Wild Card race (8 games in the loss column). Not a good week for the Giants ever since they stopped playing, well, the Cubs.

Even the Dodgers lost last night, dropping their game 10-7 to the Padres. Given their sizable lead over the Giants in the West (6.5 games), it’s unlikely the Dodgers become relevant to the Cubs in the playoff race. Still, it’s worth keeping tabs on periodically.

The same goes for the Nationals, who were the only relevant team to win last night, crushing the Braves 15-1. With the Mets idle, the Nats climbed to within 6.0 games of first place in the East, which remains their most plausible path to the playoffs. However, you must keep in mind that they, like the Giants, have a joke of a schedule the rest of the way, and they’re just a half game behind the Giants. That puts them 7.5 games behind the Cubs for the second Wild Card. Are they likely to bridge that gap while not bridging the East gap? Probably not. But they’re very much back on the radar.

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