Setting aside Anthony Rizzo’s injury, yesterday was a good day for the Cubs in the standings thanks to Ryan Braun.
Ugh. It hurt to type that, but it’s true. It was Braun’s late grand slam that propelled the Brewers to a win over the Cardinals, and brought the Cubs back to 2.0 games out in the NL Central, the closest they’ve been since August.
With the Cubs facing the Reds for three while the Cardinals face the Nationals – and their three best starting pitchers – the Cubs may have a chance to shrink that gap further ahead of their huge four-game series against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field this weekend. Even if the Cubs can just hold serve, entering that series 2.0 back is fantastic, as it will mean the Cubs can tie the Cardinals in the standings by just winning that series. Doable.
Meanwhile, about those Nationals: they finally won a game over the Braves, so they remain 1.5 games up on the Cubs in the Wild Card standings. The Cubs, for their part, stay one game up on the Brewers for WC2. The Mets, Phillies, and Dbacks have fallen 4.0, 4.5, and 5.5 games back of the Cubs, respectively.
Now the Nats face the Cardinals, and the Brewers host the Padres.
As long as the Cubs win this week, good things will happen in the Wild Card race or in the divisional race.