Hoooo. Baby. Right? All I can think of after last night’s win is that picture of Starlin Castro gasping in relief from a few years ago. I was at the game yesterday, and although it was obviously quite fun, there was a weird sense of dread hanging over the night.
Don’t get me wrong, Jose Quintana worked an excellent *and scoreless* 6.2 innings, the bullpen closed the door, and the defense was on point, but the Cubs managed to win despite just three hits, two walks, and 10(!) strikeouts of their own. There’s some good fortune in there. For sure. Also, please start hitting more, offense. Please.
All that really matters, of course, is that the Cubs won and the Brewers lost on the same night, providing some MUCH needed breathing room in the NL Central:
With a loss last night, that two-game lead would’ve been a first-place tie and the Cubs’ magic number would’ve remained at 18. Now, there’s a bit of a cushion for tonight’s finale (if the Cubs win, you feel VERY good about their chances at the division) and a shot to move that magic number down another two spots.
Of course, the Cardinals won again last night, too, and that was their third victory in a row. Now, the top two records in the National League belong to the Cubs and Brewers and the third best record is a two-way tie between the first-place Braves and the third-place Cardinals. That’s just nuts given the way the NL West and East started out this year. As of the start of play today, the Cardinals have a 3.0 game lead on the second Wild Card and the Brewers have a 1.5 game lead on top of that. In all likelihood, all three of the Brewers, Cardinals, and Cubs will be in the postseason this year.
Speaking of which, the Braves have built up a 6.5 game lead in the NL East, as well, so you can more or less count them in. Which means the only really unpredictable outcome is which NL West team will emerge victorious. The Rockies currently have a 1.5 game lead over the Dodgers and a 2.5 game lead over the Diamondbacks. It’s still anyone’s division. And depending on the outcome of tonight’s games, the same can be said for the Cubs.