With the Brewers loss last night, the Cubs’ win over the White Sox leapt them over the Brewers for first place in the NL Central.
The date was July 26, which means being in first place by a half-game is not necessarily a significant accomplishment, given how much is left in the season. But that date is a little significant, given that it was exactly two months to the day from the last time the Cubs were alone in first place in the NL Central.
That came back on May 26, which was the first day of the West Coast road swing that saw the Cubs swept in back-to-back series by the Dodgers and Padres. From there, it was a two-month-long plunge into the wilderness, even briefly falling back as far as third place.
But thanks to a blistering second half stretch that has seen the Cubs win 10 of the 12 games they’ve played, and move to six games over .500 for the first time this season.
The team that was 5.5 games out of first just 10 days ago is now alone in first place. And it’s been two meandering months since we saw a picture like this:
More than that, here’s a fun thing about the Cubs’ move to six games over .500: that 53-47 record is the same record the 2015 team had at the end of the Rockies series (you know the one: the first game ended with a Kris Bryant walk-off homer after the Cubs had blown the lead). That series win kicked off a stretch that saw the Cubs go 45-18 (!!!) to finish the season with 97 wins.
This year’s club might not match that feat, but, at the very least, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them build on their NL Central lead from here.