Another day, another double drop in the magic number.
The Chicago Cubs, as you know, beat the Cincinnati Reds again last night, which means their magic number to clinch the best record in the National League was set to fall from five. But it’s falling all the way to three, because the Washington Nationals lost once again to the Marlins, pushing them to 8.0 games back of the Cubs with just 11 games left to play. The race, of course, is already over. Now it’s just a matter of logistics.
When the Cubs do clinch the best record, they’ll be able to plan on facing the Wild Card Game winner in the NLDS. Presently, there are three teams (most likely) fighting for two spots in the Wild Card race, but none of them seems particularly interested in making a charge.
After surging ahead in the last week, the New York Mets lost last night for the second game in a row to the lowly Atlanta Braves. With each of the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants winning, that means all three teams are now tied at 80-71. What a crazy year for the Wild Card in the NL, when 85ish wins might get you in. Last year, the Cubs were the SECOND Wild Card team with 97(!) wins.
We’ve talked about the implications of a three-way tie for the Wild Card before, and the short version is that it’s something to root for. We’re still a ways off from the end of the year, but here’s hoping the trio of teams hang around with each other.
The Cubs finish up with the Reds tonight at Wrigley Field, and the Nationals do the same against the Marlins in Miami. Both teams are off tomorrow, so there won’t be a clincher until Friday at the earliest.