This afternoon, the Chicago Cubs are squaring up with the San Diego Padres for the third game of the series and sixth of the road-trip.
And unfortunately, if they don’t win, they’ll do something (bad) they haven’t done in quite some time:
#Cubs need W today to avoid losing 6 in a row for 1st time since 7-game skid in 2014 (before Maddon was manager)
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) May 31, 2017
BUT there is a bright side. A teeny, tiny, I-guess-that-lining-is-technically-silver bright side: The rest of the NL Central is struggling, too. Check out the standings in the Central as of the start of play today.
NL Central Standings:
- Milwaukee Brewers: 27-25 (.519)
- Chicago Cubs: 25-26 (.490) – 1.5 GB
- St. Louis Cardinals: 24-25 (.490) – 1.5 GB
- Cincinnati Reds: 24-27 (.471) – 2.5 GB
- Pittsburgh Pirates: 24-29 (.453) – 3.5 GB
As a matter of fact, every single team in the Central has lost their last game, and all but the Pirates are on a multi-game losing streak. And it’s only gotten worse (for basically everyone) lately:
Last 10 Games
When the best record over the past ten games belongs to the bottom two teams in a division (a division with just one team barely over .500), you know something’s wrong. Or in the Cubs’ case, something’s right.
Consider the fact that the Cubs (63 wins) are still projected to win four more games the rest of the way than any other team in the NL Central (Cardinals are in second with 59). Had any one of these other teams jumped out to an early lead, then, the Cubs chances of taking the division would’ve plummeted (even if those teams won their games purely on chance). But, as it stands, every team in the Central has treaded water relative to the Cubs and thus their relative position as most likely to win the division remains intact.
This may seem like a small victory, but because of the way playoff spots are dolled out, it is not. If the Cubs were in either of the other two National League divisions, they’d have some SERIOUS ground to overcome. But, as it stands, they don’t need to over-perform at all going forward to find themselves playing baseball in October. They just need to, you know, start acting like themselves.
We often talk about the ways in which the Cubs have underperformed and been unfortunate so far this year – well, this is one way in which they’ve been extremely fortunate.