Cubs Playoff Watch: Chicago Gains Ground as Cardinals Fall

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

The Cubs got an avalanche of good news yesterday, as they won, the St. Louis Cardinals lost to the San Diego Padres, and Willson Contreras started a rehab assignment in Myrtle Beach.

Even their rookie league team in Arizona did some big things, as they captured their first championship since 2002.

As things stand now, the big league Cubs are five games up on both the Cardinals and Brewers with just 22 games to go in the regular season. According to ESPN, their chances of making the playoffs are all the way up to 97.5 percent.

National League Playoff Picture:

The Dodgers continued to struggle, as Clayton Kershaw got shelled and the Rockies stormed out to an easy win over the Dodgers in L.A. The loss was the Dodgers’ seventh in a row and 12th in their last 13 games, and a Washington Nationals win brought them within six games of the best record in the National League.

The Diamondbacks were idle on Thursday, leaving them seven games ahead of the Rockies in the wild card race. The Rockies still hold the second spot, with a three game lead over both the Cardinals and Brewers for that playoff berth.

What’s Next:

The Cubs have 22 games left in their season, and 14 of them are against the Brewers and Cardinals. That gives them ample opportunity to create some space in the standings, and it all gets underway on Friday night when they welcome the Brewers to Wrigley Field for an incredibly rare Friday night game at the Friendly Confines.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals head back to St. Louis, where they will take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-game set at Busch Stadium. 

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