Thanks to two straight losses to the Brewers, combined with a couple wins by the Cardinals (thanks, Pirates), the Cubs find themselves only 3.0 games ahead of their closest pursuers in the NL Central.
If things go awry today, that becomes just 2.0 games with four head-to-head games with the Brewers and seven head-to-head games with the Cardinals remaining.
In other words, while today’s game, alone, won’t decide anything, the potential swing in these head-to-head matchups is enormous – and there are plenty of them coming down the stretch. The Cubs are very much in a race.
It’s not what we expected the stretch in September to look like this year, and it’s completely unrecognizable compared to last year, when all the tension was gone from the divisional race back in August. But I’m going to try to just enjoy this for what it is: a tense stretch of games, where every bounce could be the difference between a playoff visit and a trip home.
And I will try not to go insane.
… meanwhile, the Dodgers lost again. Yes, they’re still going to make the playoffs, but that’s nine straight losses (and 14 of their last 15!). The stress and frustration in the land of Dodger fans must be unbearable. At least we’re not dealing with that.
The Dodgers still have a five-game lead on the Nationals for the top overall spot in the NL, so they’ll probably get that, too. But eventually they’ll have to win another game.