The Chicago Cubs had no chance to shrink their Magic Number yesterday of their own volition, because they did not play.
But it still shrank!
With thanks to the same Milwaukee Brewers who took two of three from the Cubs this week, the St. Louis Cardinals dropped a laugher, which means the Cubs’ Magic Number to clinch the NL Central fell from 9 to 8.
More than that, thanks to an off-day for the Mets, the Cardinals fell a half-game out of the second Wild Card position. If the season ended today, the Cardinals would miss the playoffs. But, to be fair, there’s still a long way to go, and a mere game separates the top Wild Card spot (the Giants) from the Cardinals.
The Pirates won again, so they’re now 4.0 games out of the second Wild Card – still extremely unlikely, but not impossible. (Also, they’re now 69-69 on the season.) The Marlins are a game further back at 5.0 out.
Meanwhile, the Nationals lost to the Phillies last night, which puts them 7.5 games back of the Cubs for the best record in the National League. That dropped the Cubs’ Magic Number to clinch the best record to 16.
The Cardinals continue their weekend series against the Brewers today, and the Nationals continue theirs against the Phillies. The Cubs head to Houston to begin a three-game interleague set tonight.