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: 9
The Cubs dropped their magic number to single digits by one-hitting the Tampa Bay Rays in a 2-1 triumph at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night. Mike Montgomery carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and Kyle Schwarber belted a home run to help the team to their seventh straight win.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the pesky Milwaukee Brewers won again, scoring a 1-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. The win means that the Cubs maintained their three and a half game lead over Milwaukee with just 12 games to go in the season.
The St. Louis Cardinals also broke off the skids with a win over the Cincinnati Reds. They remain six games behind the Cubs with just a dozen games remaining, including four against the defending champions.
National League Playoff Picture:
The Los Angeles Dodgers are still holding a four and a half game lead over the Washington Nationals in the race for the league’s best record, meaning that the Cubs’ most likely playoff opponent remains the Nationals.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are still in the driver’s seat in the race for the top wild card spot, with a four and a half game lead over the Colorado Rockies. Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is currently six, as they have a five and a half game lead over the Brewers.
The Brewers are now just a game behind the Rockies for the second wild card spot, meaning that they could still get into the playoffs even if they are outdueled by the Cubs in the Central race.
The Brewers will wrap up their series against the Pirates on Wednesday, and they’ll head home to Miller Park to take on the Cubs in a four-game series beginning on Thursday night.
The series will be the final meeting of the year between the teams, and the Cubs will be looking for revenge as they were swept by Milwaukee at Wrigley Field earlier this month.