The Cubs beat the Pirates again yesterday, giving them a series win, and a lock on the tiebreaker if the two teams should finish tied for the top Wild Card spot (with 10 wins in 16 games, the Cubs will have the better head-to-head record against the Pirates no matter how their final three-game series goes).
The Cubs are now just two games behind the Pirates for that top Wild Card spot, and they’ll play three more games next weekend.
The Cubs couldn’t get any closer to the Cardinals, though, as they beat the Brewers once again for a series sweep. Thanks, Milwaukee. The Cubs are 7.0 games behind the Cardinals, and the Pirates are now 5.0 games behind. The latter is almost as unfortunate as the former, because the Pirates passing or – even better – tying the Cardinals would likely be good for the Cubs.
The Giants were off yesterday, and they’ll play the Diamondbacks this weekend. With their win, the Cubs shrunk their magic number for the second Wild Card to just 9. Single digits.
And now the Cardinals come to town for a huge series that could represent the Cubs’ last chance to keep the Central a modestly competitive race, either for themselves or the Pirates.
I almost never say it, but it’s true here if you want to dream on the division for a couple weeks longer: the Cubs have got to sweep.