The Chicago Cubs won again yesterday, and, don’t look now, but they’ve won four of six since losing four in a row to the Giants and Dodgers out West. Two of those four have been dominant Jake Arrieta outings, but that’s what’s nice about having a guy like that.
The second game of the weekend NL Central battle between the Cardinals and Pirates went the other way yesterday, with the Cardinals winning 4-1. That pushed the Cardinals’ lead back to 6.5 games, and held it at 9.5 games over the Cubs. If you can subtract, then, you see that the Cubs are now just 3.0 games behind the Pirates for the top Wild Card spot. Keep in mind: if the Cubs and Pirates tie for that top Wild Card spot, the tiebreaker for home field advantage in the Wild Card Game is head-to-head record during the season. The Cubs currently lead in that department 7-5.
Elsewhere in the Wild Card race, both of the Nationals and Giants won, keeping them 7.5 and 8.0 games back of the Cubs, respectively. The Mets and Dodgers each won, too, so the Nats are 5.0 games back in the East, and the Giants are 7.5 games back in the West.
The Cubs’ magic number for the second Wild Card is down to 21 (with respect to the Nats, 20 with respect to the Giants). With 28 games left on the year, the Cubs probably need win only about 10 to 12 games to lock things up – and they’re probably going to win more than that.