Chicago Cubs: When you really think about it, Cubs have division all but locked up
After snatching defeat from the Brewers not once but twice, the Chicago Cubs’ postseason odds are heavily in their favor.
At the time of this writing, the Chicago Cubs had just lost a heartbreaker against the team chasing them in the division. All-Star closer Wade Davis had just given homers in back-to-back innings, blowing his first save of the season at the hands of the Brewers.
Now that’s a crushing loss, don’t get me wrong. And at this point in the season, losing when you should’ve won is magnified even more. However, thankfully the Cubs have done enough thus far to where this game – and every game from here on out – don’t matter as much.
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Let me explain. Pending Saturday’s game between the Cardinals and Pirates, the Cubs are four-and-a-half games up on both St. Louis and Milwaukee. With eight games to go, and over half between those two clubs, it would appear that the Cubs need to be playing their best ball if they want to win the Central. While that’s true to a degree, there are some underlying factors that only work in favor of the Cubs.
‘Big’ series against the Cardinals?
For example, that ‘big’ four-game series in St. Louis isn’t all that big for the Cubs when you think about it. Even if the Cubs lose the last game against Milwaukee, the Cardinals would have to win the last two games of their series against Pittsburgh to get within three games.
Of course St. Louis can sweep the series to get back into 1st place, but let’s be realistic here. The Cubs haven’t been swept in a four-game series all year; only four times have they lost at least four games in a row. They’re 11-4 against the Cardinals on the season and just swept them 3-0 the last time they played.
Even if the Cardinals take three out of four games, they’d still only gain two games in the standings. That means they’d still be down a game with three left to go. As for the Brewers, if all that happens and they sweep their three-game series against Cincinnati, they too would be down a game with three to play.
The thing is, even if ALL THAT happens, the end-of-season schedule is heavily in the Cubs’ favor. Not only do they play the hapless Reds at home in a three-game set, the Brewers and Cardinals duke it out at Wrigley North, I mean Miller Park. How huge is that for the Cubs? Let’s take a look.
The schedule gods are smiling down on the Cubs
What’s unfortunate for both the Brewers and Cardinals is one of those teams probably has to sweep the other for any chance at winning the division. The reason being is the Cubs aren’t likely to be swept themselves by Cincinnati; the team they’ve outscored by 25 runs during the season.
If both Milwaukee and St. Louis win a game that series, the Cubs are sitting pretty. The only thing that could prevent the Cubs clinching the division would be if Milwaukee wins the series and the Cubs don’t win theirs. That would put each club’s record at 88-74, where the head-to-head tiebreaker favors Milwaukee.
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However, the Cubs would at least have to go 2-6 over their last eight for that scenario to even happen. They own the tiebreaker over the Cardinals too, regardless of what happens in their upcoming series. Oh and the Brewers would have to win at least seven of their last eight games. The Cardinals would too.
Do you see what I’m saying? The division crown for the Cubs is as locked up as it can be without it actually being locked up. Barring a complete smorgasbord of events going against the Cubs, the team will be defending their World Series crown this October.