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Scoreboard Watching: Cubs Big Lead, Remaining Schedule, Magic Numbers

Chicago Cubs

In an abbreviated season like this, I probably could’ve started Scoreboard Watching a lot earlier, given that there are now only 12 games left on the Cubs’ schedule. Heck, normally I’m watching the scoreboard by mid-August.

So here we are, with a couple weeks left in the season, and the Cubs are currently in first place in the NL Central. Indeed, the Cubs’ 4.0-game lead on the Cardinals is the largest division lead in baseball outside of the A’s in the AL West, who lead by a whopping 6.5 games (what a shitshow that division turned out to be – I mean, the MARINERS are only 1.5 games behind the Astros for second place!)

Because of the schedule, it’s now more or less impossible for both of the Cardinals and Brewers to pass the Cubs, so if you’re the panicky type, you want to start rooting against the Reds:

From here, the Cubs host two against the Indians, host three against the Twins, go to Pittsburgh for four against the Pirates, and conclude with three against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate.

Yesterday, the Cardinals split their doubleheader with the Brewers, with both offenses going quiet and both games going into extra innings. It wound up being a perfect example of why the Cardinals’ schedule is so hard the rest of the way: sweeping doubleheaders, when you’re going to have your best relief pitchers available for only one of two games, is really difficult. And, with no off-days, the Cardinals still have another FOUR doubleheaders left this year (including the provisional one against the Tigers after the final day of the season (which they would almost certainly have to play if they were going to come back on the Cubs)).

So, then, that’s another reason to arguably be as concerned about the Reds as the Cardinals, but even then, you’re talking about a situation where the Reds would have to win, like, 9 of their 11 remaining games, and the Cubs would have to lose 9 of their remaining 12 games. It’s not an impossible feat for the Reds, especially given the Cubs’ tough upcoming opponents, but the Reds also have to play the Twins and White Sox for 6 of those 11 games. It’s reasonable to feel very good about where the Cubs are.

Speaking of the White Sox, they now lead the AL Central by a couple games over the Twins, which could set up a concluding series with the Cubs where both teams clinch their divisions if they haven’t already. That’s kinda cool, yes?

The Magic Number situation:

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.