Meanwhile, the Cardinals finally lost a game out in San Diego, which means they fell back to 5.0 games behind the Cubs, tied with the Brewers, who had the day off.
Taken together, that means the Cubs’ magic number dropped a couple clicks to a pun-tastic level:
The Cubs’ odds to win the NL Central are now over 95%, per FanGraphs. Fun fact: the Cubs’ chances of winning the NL Central last year flipped over 95% on May 7. Lulz.
Elsewhere, the Rockies won to create a little distance between themselves and the Brewers and Cardinals for that second Wild Card spot (3.0 games). In fact, the combined Cubs-win-Rockies-win-Cardinals-loss was pretty devastating to the Cardinals’ overall playoff odds: in one day, their chances of making the playoffs dropped from 31.7% to just 19.8% (FanGraphs). Clipped by a third in a single early September day. Ouch.
The story is even bleaker for the Brewers, whose chances have dropped from 31.0% on September 4 to just 10.1% today. They need to sweep the Cubs this weekend in the worst way.
The Diamondbacks won again, their 13th in a row. And the Dodgers lost again, their 7th in a row. And the Diamondbacks are still 10.0 games behind the Dodgers. Seriously, that division is bonkers.
While I don’t think there’s any real chance the Diamondbacks actually catch the Dodgers, I do now wonder if the Nationals could catch them for the top overall NL seed (which would be the team that plays the Wild Card winner, and the other team plays the NL Central winner (likely the Cubs). With a nice hot streak to counter the Dodgers’ cold streak, the Nationals are now just 6.0 games back of what seemed like an immortally locked up top seed. Can they make that up? Technically, sure. It’s just one more game than the Cubs are ahead of the Cardinals and Brewers, and we’re not crowning the Cubs just yet. But it’s very unlikely the Nats actually do pass the Dodgers.
When planning ahead, it’s still overwhelmingly likely that, if the Cubs win the Central, they’ll face the Nationals in the NLDS.