Yup, the Cubs lost again last night. To the Brewers. To lose the series. To the Brewers. Le Baseball.
But that’s not the only thing that matters this time of year to a team with a huge divisional lead like the Cubs. What else happened around the league matters just as much, and on that front, it was a solid night.
The Pirates held on this time to beat the Cardinals, which keeps the Cubs’ lead in the NL Central at a gargantuan 15.5 games, and drops their Magic Number to clinch the NL Central to just 9.
The loss also dropped the Cardinals into a tie with the Mets, who won their fifth in a row, for the second Wild Card spot. Each team is just a half-game behind the Giants. How about a three-way tie to end the season, forcing a complicated tie-breaker before the eventual winner, having played an extra couple games, then faces the Cubs in the NLDS?
That assumes, of course, that the Cubs carry the top record in the league into the playoffs, on which they did lose a game to the Nationals, who swept the Braves. The Cubs are up 7.0 games on the Nationals right now, and have a Magic Number of 17 to clinch the best record in the NL.
Meanwhile, that Pirates win kept them within 4.5 games of the Wild Card, with the Marlins, who also won, immediately behind them at 5.0 games out. I wouldn’t put either team at anything better than “very unlikely, but still possible” to sneak into that Wild Card Game.
The Cubs are off today, but your rooting interests are for the Phillies to beat the Nationals in the first game of their four-game weekend set, and for the Brewers to do the same against the Cardinals. The Brewers just gave the Cubs fits, so it could happen, right?