Cubs win the trade:
That, of course, was Jeimer Candelario walking off on the Cardinals, a little over a year after the Cubs traded him, together with Isaac Paredes, to the Tigers for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila. The deal has been maligned for a long time, and understandably so, given how bad Wilson was last year. But he’s definitely righted the ship this season, and Avila was a really valuable piece down the stretch last year. (I won’t mention how Paredes raked this year … as a 19-year-old … at High-A and AA … )
That loss pushed the Cardinals 5.5 game back of the Cubs, and six in the loss column. They do get to finish the season with three against the Cubs, but I’d be surprised if they are within 3.0 games at that point for the series to matter, at least with respect to the Cardinals and the Central. The Cardinals still hold the second Wild Card spot by a game over the Dodgers.
Speaking of that, I was just kinda thinking about the postseason as it relates to the Cubs and a possible NLDS match-up with the winner of the Wild Card Game, which could very well be an NL Central rival. The only way it would not be the Wild Card winner in the NLDS for the Cubs (assuming the Cubs win the Central) is if they got passed for the best record in the NL by the NL West or NL East winner.
Have you seen how far those teams have fallen behind the Cubs? The Braves lead the East by 2.5 games over the Phillies, but they are 6.5 games behind the Cubs for the best record. The Rockies lead the West by 0.5 games over the Dodgers, but they are 6.0 games behind the Cubs.
In other words, if you were dreaming of oh-my-God-can-you-imagine-it NLCS match-up between the Cubs and Cardinals or Brewers, that’s pretty much out of the question at this point. The Cubs would have to lose enough that they’d likely fall behind the Brewers and/or Cardinals in the Central. Although, I suppose at that point, the Cubs could win the Wild Card Game and then maybe face the Brewers or Cardinals (as division winner, but with a lesser record than another division winner) in the NLCS. But … obviously that would be an ugly turn of events.
Meanwhile, the Brewers beat the Giants late last night, so they’re back to within 4.0 games of the Cubs (five in the loss column). Ideally, the Cubs could hold that lead at 3.5 games or more through this weekend of rain and Nationals, so that when they return home to face the Brewers next week, it will not be possible for them to lose their division lead if disaster strikes in that series.