With their playoff hopes severely damaged by a four-game sweep at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs will begin their quest for a miracle finish when they take on the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
The Cubs, who are four games out of the National League wild card race with six games remaining in the season, will need to go on an incredible winning streak and for either the Washington Nationals or Milwaukee Brewers to falter badly down the stretch to have any chance at extending their playoff streak to five straight seasons.
Here’s where things stand in the race for the wild card:
Chicago 82-74 4 GB
New York 81-75 5 GB
Philadelphia 79-76 6.5 GB
The Phillies will be eliminated with one more Milwaukee win or Philadelphia loss, and the Mets could be eliminated as soon as Tuesday when they take on the Marlins.
The Cubs’ elimination number for the postseason stands at just three after their tough weekend against the Cardinals, but they’ll still look to make a miracle happen when they take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-game set beginning on Tuesday night at PNC Park.
The Cubs also have three games left against the Cardinals, whose magic number to clinch the National League Central crown stands at three.
The Nationals are faced with an interesting challenge this week as they’re engaged in a five-game series against the Phillies, and they took care of business in their first game, winning 7-2 on Monday night.
The Nats currently have a half-game lead over the Brewers for the top National League wild card spot, and face series with the Phillies and Indians in the season’s final week.
The Brewers have won 15 of their last 17 games, and despite losing Christian Yelich for the season, they seem ready to cruise into the postseason for the second consecutive year.
That push to get back into the playoffs gets going again on Tuesday night when they begin a three-game series against the Reds in Cincinnati, and then will conclude later this week with a three-game set against the Rockies.
Any combination of three Brewers wins and Cubs losses would eliminate Chicago from postseason contention.