Watching the scoreboard for the Brewers last night was easy, if unsatisfying. By beating the Cubs in the opening game of their weekend series, the Brewers pulled back to within 4.0 games of the Cubs at the top of the NL Central.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals kicked off a series hosting the Pirates with a 4-1 win, meaning that they, too, pulled within 4.0 games of the Cubs.
You wouldn’t think a single loss that yields a still-quite-large 4.0-game lead would be that damaging to a team’s playoff odds, but when that team is being chased by two teams at that same deficit, the impact is magnified a bit. Per FanGraphs, yesterday’s activity dropped the Cubs’ chances to win the NL Central from 95.1% down to 90.1%. Still quite high, but a five percentage point drop is notable.
Elsewhere in the NL, the Dodgers lost again, their 8th in a row. They’re still at a 100.0% chance to win the NL West, but that gap with the Nationals is down to 5.0 games for the best record in the NL, and thus the right to play the Wild Card Game winner. Of course, that team could wind up the Diamondbacks, who just ended a 13-game winning streak.