For the first time in what seems like a very long time, the Cubs’ magic number did not shrink yesterday. The Cubs lost, and the Giants won (behind Madison Bumgarner’s near perfect game), so the magic number for a playoff spot stays at 13. The Giants climbed to within 8.5 games of the Cubs with the win, which is still nearly insurmountable.
Ahead of the Cubs, the Pirates beat the Brewers, so the buffer between the first and second Wild Card spots increased to 3.0 games.
And ahead of the Pirates, the Cardinals lost again, which means they’re just 2.5 games ahead of the Pirates in the Central (and 5.5 ahead of the Cubs). Obviously the dream scenario is that the Cubs pass both teams – remains highly unlikely, but not impossible – but if that’s not going to happen, I’m still rooting for the Pirates to pass the Cardinals. I prefer that Wild Card Game match-up, even if it came in St. Louis (and I prefer the Pirates in a divisional series, rather than the Cardinals).
Speaking of all of that, the Cardinals are in a really serious slump, their first of the season. They’ve won just twice in their last ten games, though they’re remaining schedule remains exceedingly attractive, with three each against the Cubs and Pirates, but otherwise Reds, Brewers, and Braves.
If somehow the Cardinals keep slumping (they do have a lot of injuries and a fair amount of youth), you never know what could happen. Their lead is still such that they can go .500 the rest of the way and probably hold onto the division. Suffice it to say, you’re rooting for Cardinals losses as hard as you ever have.