MLB Playoffs

Chicago Cubs Playoff Update: Magic Number, Potential Opponents

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It wasn’t a great day on the field for the Chicago Cubs as they were blown out by the Minnesota Twins at Wrigley Field, but they did move a little bit closer to clinching a playoff spot even as they lost Saturday.

The Cubs also didn’t lose any ground in their battle for the second seed in the National League, as the Atlanta Braves lost on Saturday as well, leaving the Cubs a game ahead in that race.

Here is where things stand heading into Sunday for the Cubs:

Cubs’ Magic Number: 4

The Cubs’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot is now down to four, as the Cincinnati Reds lost to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night. That means the Cubs could, at the earliest, clinch a playoff spot on Monday when they take on the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Cubs’ magic number to clinch the Central Division still remains at six after the St. Louis Cardinals beat the aforementioned Pirates in Pittsburgh. The Cubs retain a four and a half game lead over St. Louis.

If the Season Ended Today….

As has been the case for several days, the Cubs are still in line to take on the Philadelphia Phillies if the season were to end today. The Phillies, with a  27-25 record, have won three games in a row and are pushing hard to reach the postseason, but with a questionable bullpen, there is some uncertainty about the team’s chances in October should they reach the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers have to be wondering which of the baseball gods they offended, as the National League’s likely top seed would have to face the Reds if the season were to end today. Although the Reds are still an under-.500 team, they have still been one of the hottest teams in baseball, and with a pitching rotation featuring Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer and Luis Castillo, they could be an extremely tough team to knock out in a wild card round series.

The Braves remain a game behind the Cubs in the race for the second seed in the National League, and they would have to contend with the Cardinals if the current seeding holds up. The Padres and Marlins would square off in the other National League series under the current standings.

What’s Next

The Cubs will play their final home game of the 2020 season on Sunday, with Yu Darvish taking the mound against the Twins. The White Sox will be rooting for their North Side counterparts on Sunday, as they currently hold a three-game edge over the Twins entering the final week of the season.

The Reds and White Sox will finish their series in Cincinnati, while the Cardinals will wrap up a series against the Pirates on Sunday. The Brewers, still lurking on the outside periphery of the race, will take on the Kansas City Royals at Miller Park.

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