Your periodic check-in on where the Cubs stand relative to the Reverse Standings – the ones that’ll determine 2022 draft order and the associated bonus pools – finds the team holding steady at number eight, with a critical series on tap.
First, the Reverse Standings:
The Cubs wound up going 2-4 on their road trip against the Phillies and Brewers, which is about the bare minimum you’d want to see *FOR PURPOSES OF THE REVERSE STANDINGS.* Like I’ve said before, if you are of the mind that all winning is good winning, you might want to duck out. The considerations for this particular post are all about trying to move up in the Reverse Standings, which means losing is good. The Cubs probably could’ve stood to lose one more on that trip, all things considered.
Yesterday’s win saw the Cubs move a game in the wrong direction relative to the three teams closest to them, but the good news is that the Rockies have been sufficiently solid lately that the Cubs still hold a 3.5-game advantage there, and then a half-game over the Royals. Staying out of that 10th/11th spot? The Cubs are 5.0 games clear there thanks to a Tigers hot streak.
As for moving up in the standings, that’s going to require Cubs losses and Twins wins and, hey, what do you know, the Twins come to town for two against the Cubs starting tomorrow. I am going to be in maximum “cheer for great individual performances, but somehow lose the game” mode. This is by far the Cubs’ best shot to even things up with the Twins and then ultimately move past them. A split wouldn’t make things impossible – the Twins do still have six games remaining against the Tigers and Royals – but a sweep for the Cubs would just about close the realistic door for them to pass the Twins. The Cubs do hold the tiebreaker there thanks to a worse 2020 record.
After the Twins, the Cubs get four in three days against the Cardinals, which I know will produce some cognitive dissonance. All the more reason to REALLY root for the Twins the next two games …
Otherwise, you’re looking at the Rockies, Nationals, and Marlins, who all have to play each other quite a bit over the next couple weeks. The good news is that it’ll mean some wins for some teams the Cubs want to see do well, but obviously the bad news is it means there will have to be an equal number of losses. Realistically, I’m not sure passing the Nationals is going to happen for the Cubs this year, so I’ll pretty much be rooting for them to lose all six of their remaining games against the Rockies and Marlins. That six spot seems to be the Cubs’ realistic ceiling.
The Royals, by the way, have games left against only losing teams – Twins, Tigers, Indians. Here’s hoping it leads to a nice end-of-season hot streak.