Welcome to Cubs Playoff Watch, your daily look at the Chicago Cubs as they continue to push toward their second consecutive division title.
Cubs’ Magic Number: 18
So….that weekend happened.
The Cubs not only lost all three games to the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field, but they also watched their primary rival win all three of their games against the Pittsburgh Pirates, as the St. Louis Cardinals swept the Pirates at home.
As a result, the Cubs have a two-game division lead over both the Brewers and Cardinals with 19 games left to go in the season. 11 of those games come against the Cardinals (seven) and Brewers (four), meaning that the Cubs are far from assured of a playoff spot at this point in the campaign.
National League Playoff Picture:
The Washington Nationals’ win on Sunday clinched the National League East, making them the first team to sew up a playoff berth. The Nationsl are just four and a half games back of the reeling Los Angeles Dodgers for the top seed in the National League, meaning that the race, while still decidedly in LA’s favor, is still open.
Meanwhile the Diamondbacks have come back to Earth a bit, blowing a five run lead and losing on Saturday, but they still have a good sized-lead over the Colorado Rockies and look to be in prime position to host the National League wild card game.
The Cardinals and Brewers are both within striking distance of the Rockies for the second wild card berth, meaning that the Central Division isn’t their only path into the postseason.
After scoring three runs in three games over the weekend, the Cubs will have a much-needed day off before starting up a three game series against the New York Mets on Tuesday night.
After that series, the Cubs will welcome the Cardinals to Wrigley Field for a three-game set, and they’ll want to do a heck of a lot better in that series than they did over the weekend against the Brewers.
Meanwhile, the Brewers will welcome Pittsburgh to town for a three game set beginning on Monday night, and the Cardinals will play the Reds in a three game set starting on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.