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: 20
The Cubs’ victory over the Pirates lowered their magic number to 19 over the pesky Brewers, but their Central Division number only dropped to 20, as the St. Louis Cardinals have jumped back into second place in the division, one half game ahead of Milwaukee.
The Cubs currently hold a four game lead over the Cardinals with 23 games remaining in the regular season.
National League Playoff Picture:
The Dodgers are currently thanking their lucky stars that they built up a massive lead in the race for home-field advantage in the playoffs, as they have gone on an astonishing losing streak. They have lost 11 of their last 12 games, and they’ve seen their lead over the Washington Nationals dwindle to seven games in the process.
Astoundingly, the Dodgers still have a 10 and a half game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West race, even though Arizona has won 13 games in a row.
Those Diamondbacks seem all but assured of a playoff spot at this point, as they have a seven and a half game lead over the Colorado Rockies for the top National League wild card spot.
The Rockies meanwhile have a two game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in the race for the second spot, and they lead the Milwaukee Brewers by two and a half games with 23 games remaining in their season.
If the season ended today, the Cubs would still play the Nationals, who would have home-field advantage over Chicago, while either the Diamondbacks or Rockies would face the struggling Dodgers.
The Cubs have a big series this weekend as they’ll welcome the Brewers to Wrigley Field for three games. If they’re able to take two out of three, it would deal a massive blow to Milwaukee’s chances of catching the Cubs in the Central, and would allow the Cubs to focus on the Cardinals, who have seven games left against Chicago this season.