wrigley scoreboard featureThe Cubs won again last night, taking down the Cardinals 8-5, and keeping your Central dreams alive. At 6.5 games out, those dreams remain faint. But if the Cubs win today, there will be a real – but small! – chance that they could come back and take the division by the end of the season.

Of course, for that to happen, the Cubs will also have to pass the Pirates. Fortunately, they’ll have seven head-to-head games in which to do it, because the Pirates won again last night against the Reds. They remain 2.0 games ahead of the Cubs, but have climbed to 4.5 games behind the Cardinals.

Behind the Cubs, the Giants finally won a game, allowing them to leapfrog the Nationals in the Wild Card standings. Still, the Giants are 9.0 games back of the Cubs, and the chances of them bridging that gap are extraordinarily slim. The Giants are 8.5 games behind the Dodgers in the West.

Speaking of the Nationals, not only did they lose last night, they lost in horrifying fashion, having been up 7-1 at home against the Mets – the team they most realistically needed to pass to earn a playoff spot – and giving up seven straight to lose. The Nats are now 9.5 games behind the Cubs, and 6.0 games behind the Mets in the East.

The Cubs’ magic number for the Wild Card is now a mere 16 games.

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