All those machinations yesterday about whether to pull for the Cardinals or the Pirates were washed out by the rain. They’ll try again today as part of a doubleheader, beginning at 12:35pm CT. Each team is off on Thursday, but I guess the Pirates must have preferred to preserve that off-day and take their chances in a doubleheader.
Were it a little closer to the Wild Card Game, I might say the doubleheader is a fantastic thing for the Cubs, as it could disrupt the normal flow of the teams’ bullpens. As it stands, though, I think there is enough time for this not to be an issue. (You could also argue that September depth ameliorates the issue, but in games these teams really want to win, they’re going to want to use their best arms again and again, not merely use depth.)
With the Cubs winning last night over the Reds, they are three games behind the Pirates for the top Wild Card spot. If the teams finish the season tied, the Cubs get the nod for home field advantage thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker. (Even if the game is in Pittsburgh, you can likely still watch at Wrigley Field.) Should the Cubs win again today, and the Pirates get swept in the doubleheader, they’d stand just 1.5 games behind the Pirates.
On the other hand, if the Pirates sweep, they’ll be 2.0 games behind the Cardinals with three games left to play … but not against each other.
Either way, I’m definitely pulling for a sweep today, with a slight preference for a Cardinals sweep. If they split, I don’t think either the Cubs (on the Pirates) or the Pirates (on the Cardinals) are coming back by the end of the season (indeed, the Pirates could not, as the Cardinals’ magic number is just two).
Elsewhere, the Dodgers finally officially clinched the NL West with a win over the Giants.
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