Well, last night wasn’t exactly the worst case scenario, but it was far from making me smile.
On the (lonesome) positive end of the ledger, the St. Louis Cardinals lost to the Nationals 6-2, which prevented them from double-dipping on their Magic-Number reduction with respect to the Cubs and Brewers. In other words, they still have a 2.0 game lead in the NL Central, just like they did yesterday, but they didn’t personally help themselves out at all.
Unfortunatly, the Cubs helped them out plenty, by losing to the Reds and dropping their own elimination number from 11 to 10. Sigh. Worse, the Brewers won their game against the Padres (because they don’t apparently squander perfect opportunities late in the season), which means they’re now tied for second-place with the Cubs, 2.0 games behind the Cardinals with an elimination number of 10.
- Cardinals (84-67): —
- Cubs (82-69): 2.0 GB … E#10
- Brewers (82-69): 2.0 GB … E#10
But that’s not the end of it.
The Cardinals may have lost their game last night, but they lost it to the Nationals (who’ve been holding the top Wild Card spot), which pushed the Cubs back to a 1.5 game deficit, also tied with the Brewers in that race.
Wild Card Race:
- Nationals (83-67):
- Cubs (82-69): 1.5 GB of Nats
- Brewers (82-69):1.5 GB of Nats
In short, there are four teams (Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers, Nationals) competing for three playoff spots and the Chicago Cubs are tied with the Brewers for last in that group. The goal for now remains staying – at most – 2.0 games behind the Cardinals before these seven head-to-head matchups begin, but the Brewers resurgence (despite a much larger deficit and no Christian Yelich) is a new, particularly challenging wrinkle.
It’s not impossible to imagine the Cubs and Cardinals beating up on each other as the Brewers sneak ahead in the final week of the season, but this is shaping up to be one bumpy ride no matter what.