National League Playoff Update: Cubs, Cardinals Win as Central Division Stays Tight - NBC Chicago
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National League Playoff Update: Cubs, Cardinals Win as Central Division Stays Tight

The Cubs now trail the Nationals by half a game in the wild card race

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    The National League Wild Card race got a little bit wilder on Monday night, as the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals fell to the St. Louis Cardinals. 

    Those results mean that the Cubs are just one half-game behind the Nationals in the race for the top wild card spot, which comes with home-field advantage in the one-game Wild Card playoff in October. 

    To make things even more interesting, the Milwaukee Brewers also won Monday, beating the San Diego Padres, and that leaves them one game behind the Cubs and a game and a half behind Washington in a rapidly-tightening race. 

    Here's where things stand after Monday's action: 

    National League Central 

    Cardinals  84-66 

    Cubs        82-68  2 GB 

    Brewers    81-69  3 GB 

    National League Wild Card 

    Nationals   82-67 

    Cubs         82-68 

    Brewers     81-69  1 GB 

    Mets          77-73  5 GB 

    What Comes Next: 

    -The Cubs will continue their series with the Reds on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. They have won five games in a row, and have narrowed their deficit behind the Cardinals to two games. They have seven games left against the Cardinals this season, starting on Thursday night at Wrigley. 

    -The Cardinals will continue their series against the Nationals at Busch Stadium Tuesday. Their remaining games are all against teams who are still in the playoff hunt, giving them the hardest schedule of any National League playoff contender. 

    -The Brewers, who have 12 games left against sub-.500 competition, will continue their series against the Padres at Miller Park. The Brewers have won three games in a row as they've kept their playoff hopes alive even without Christian Yelich, who has been knocked out for the remainder of the season. 

    -The Mets, who lost to the Rockies on Monday, are fading fast in the race, dropping to five games behind the Cubs with 12 games left. They will continue their series against Colorado on Tuesday. 

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