Cubs Clear Playoff Path, Heyward's Enormous Numbers, and Other Cubs Bits

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Cubs Clear Playoff Path, Heyward’s Enormous Numbers, and Other Cubs Bits

Chicago Cubs

The Bits after a huge event that necessitated a lot of its own coverage are always fun and also tricky: I have to be like, OK, I know this huge thing just happened, and I’m not ignoring it, but I have to talk about all the other stuff now.

Of the weekend overall for the Cubs: From a moment where it seemed the Cubs could absolutely not score a run and there were deep concerns about the rotation … flipping so rapidly into the Jason Heyward comeback bomb on Saturday night to the Alec Mills no-hitter on Sunday (with 12 runs scored!). Man. What a crazy weekend.

Speaking of those 12 runs scored, the Brewers defense was atrocious yesterday and the Cubs took advantage. Their five-run fourth inning was particular humorous:

That hit by Jason Heyward was one of three for him on the day, and combined with two walks, raising his already impressive slash line from .283/.399/.522 (143 wRC+) to .293/.413/.534 (150). Heyward is now just 1 point behind Ian Happ for the team lead in wRC+, and his is the 16th best mark in the NL. Even though he improved last year, and even though we knew he could be much better if deployed properly, and even in a short season, you couldn’t have seen this coming. What a year for Heyward, who may well wind up the Cubs’ MVP.

The win, combined with a Cardinals loss, pushed the Cubs to 4.0 up on the Cardinals, and 6.0 up on the Brewers. The Cubs have only 12 games left, and since the Cardinals and Brewers each have to play each other 10(!) times the rest of the way, it’s going to be virtually impossible for either of them to comeback on the Cubs, barring a (1) total collapse by the Cubs *AND* (2) one of the Cardinals or Brewers taking 8+ of those 10 games.

… and even if that were to happen, you can immediately see how borderline impossible it would be for the Cubs then to ALSO fall behind whichever of those teams loses those 8+ games. The Cubs are 6.5 up on the Reds, so they are actually the team to watch in terms of wondering whether the Cubs could fall to third place, and thus lose out on the top two playoff spots that come from the Central.

Taking that all together, you can see why the Cubs now have a 99.9% chance to finish either first (90.0%) or second (9.9%) in the NL Central. They have only a 0.1% chance of taking a Wild Card spot (and yes, that does add up to 100% at FanGraphs …).

I never really noticed this before about Mills’ delivery:

And now a couple more random no-hitter things that are not explicitly Mills things:

Meanwhile, if you missed it during the no-no, the Bears were staging a huge comeback:

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.