For the third day in a row, this is an unpleasant space, as the Cubs did not win, and the teams chasing them did.
The Brewers won, obviously, sweeping the Cubs from a 5.0-game lead to a 2.0-game lead. I guess it could have been worse – it could have been a four-game series! – but only technically. The Cubs looked listless and ineffectual at the plate, and the Brewers looked invigorated. It was just bad.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals swept the Pirates, who apparently used up their last ounces of fight against the Cubs in the series before. That means they, too, went from 5.0 games back to just 2.0 games back this weekend.
I don’t want to go too far down the “narratives create action” rabbit hole, but if you are inclined to believe that groups of players can be spurred by the things they are collectively working towards, you sure have to like what the Brewers and Cardinals have better than the Cubs:
- Brewers – Nobody believed we could hang on this long, and now we just lost our ace. We’re going to show them.
- Cardinals – Even our own front office didn’t show faith in us, but we hung on. We’re going to show them.
- Cubs – Oh dear God please don’t let us blow this lead. We don’t want to show anyone anything.
The talent, I’d still venture, favors the Cubs in this race. And having a 2.0-game lead is not nothing. But there are two teams hot on their tail, with several head-to-head match-ups remaining, and with a desire to shove it in the Cubs’ faces. This remains very tense.
The Cubs kick off against the Mets tomorrow at Wrigley, while the Cardinals kick off against the Reds in St. Louis tomorrow. The Brewers host the Pirates starting tonight.
Cubs Magic Number: pic.twitter.com/aJePyVchjs
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) September 11, 2017