Yesterday was a double good one, with the Cubs beating the White Sox and the Pirates beating the Brewers. After being stuck on eight for a few days, the Cubs’ magic number takes a dip into Bryan LaHair territory.
That single day was pretty crushing for the Brewers: their chances of winning the Central went from 18.4% to just 7.6%. The Cubs’ chances of winning the Central, according to FanGraphs, are now 91.5%.
The Cubs head into their finale against the White Sox with a chance to get that baby down to five, with seven games to go. And, of course, if the Brewers drop their own finale against the Pirates, it’s four.
If the Cubs split their final eight games, the Brewers will have to go 6-1 over their final seven just to tie the Cubs. This race is not over, but the Cubs are in a very good spot. Yesterday was quite a blow to the Brewers.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals, who won again yesterday, are not yet eliminated in the Central race (elimination number: 4), but they’re 4.5 back with barely a week left in the season. They need to shrink the gap to 3.0 by the final series against the Cubs to even have a chance to sweep for the tie. I don’t see it.
Instead, it’s going to be the Wild Card for them and the Brewers, most likely, as the Cardinals still hold a 1.5-game advantage over the Rockies for the second Wild Card spot. The Cardinals should be hoping that the Cubs clinch before their final series so that, perhaps, the Cubs will be resting some guys. Bummer for the Cardinals? Their other remaining series is against the Brewers, who are still pushing to take down the Cubs. The Rockies finish up with the Phillies and the Nationals at home.