The Chicago Cubs took a big step closer to clinching the National League Central Division title on Friday night, as they blew out the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.
That win, coupled with a St. Louis Cardinals loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in the opening game of a doubleheader on Friday, reduced the Cubs’ magic number to just one, meaning that a Cubs win in one of their final two games of the regular season, or a Cardinals loss in either of their two remaining games, would clinch the division title, and a top-three seed in the National League playoffs, for the Cubs.
If the Cubs lose their final two games against the White Sox, and if the Cardinals beat the Brewers in their two remaining contests over the weekend, then things get more complicated, as the Cardinals could theoretically be forced to play a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers on Monday, a make-up of two games that were not rescheduled after the Cardinals were forced to cancel multiple series due to a coronavirus outbreak among coaches, staff and players.
If the Cardinals were to win those two rescheduled games, then the Cubs would lose the division title by virtue of the intradivisional record tiebreaker, as the Cardinals would edge the Cubs out by just one game in that category.
Needless to say, the Cubs hope that it doesn’t come to that tiebreaker, as one more win against the South Siders would lock up their first divisional title since 2017.
The two teams will tangle again on the South Side Saturday, with Jon Lester opposing Dane Dunning in the contest.