The Chicago Cubs saw their playoff odds trend in the wrong direction this weekend and face a tough upcoming schedule in the immediate future.
It is no secret the Chicago Cubs have been struggling as of late. This past weekend, the team suffered a sweep at the hands of the National League Wild Card-leading Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field – the team’s first three-game sweep at home in nearly two years. These were vital games in the midst of a possible playoff run, and simply put, the Cubs blew it.
As a result, the red hot Nationals have won 12 of their last 14 games and hold a four-game edge over the Cubs in the Wild Card race. Washington has what appears to be a fairly easy week coming up and they are going into it with Fangraphs pegging their postseason chances at 97.5 percent. Why is their week so light? They’ll face both the Baltimore Orioles and the Miami Marlins, which will probably lead them to even more victories and even higher postseason odds
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The Cubs were swept by yet another threatening NL East team, the Philadelphia Phillies earlier this month, which shows the difficulty Joe Maddon‘s ball club is having when it comes to defeating other playoff-caliber teams.
When playing teams above .500 this season, Chicago sits a disappointing three games under the break-even mark at 32-25.
Unfortunately, the team’s upcoming schedule is nowhere near as easy. This week, the Cubs face the New York Mets in the Big Apple before welcoming the Milwaukee Brewers to Wrigley Field. Recently, the Cubs have struggled immensely on the road which could play a factor in these upcoming games.
Also, the Mets’ starting pitching staff isn’t exactly easy to beat, especially with the likes of Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom on the mound for New York. The Mets go into the series with 31.7 percent postseason chances, while the Cubs are at 66.7 percent. With these stats in mind, maybe Chicago has nothing to worry about.
When it comes to their division rival Brewers, not only do the Cubs have the upper hand when it comes to home-field advantage, but they also hold a 2 1/2-game advantage over Milwaukee in the division and Wild Card race, respectively.
While the Cubs have been struggling, the division rival St. Louis Cardinals have been scorching hot and now lay claim to the top spot in the division. On Monday, the Cardinals blew out Christian Yelich and the Brewers, a team that dumbfounded them at the beginning of the season, by a score of 12-2, clearly displaying how much better they have become. The Cardinals are 15-8 in the month of August and have a 79.5 percent chance of making the playoffs.
There’s no time for the Cubs to keep reeling from a tough weekend. They’ll have their feet held to the fire right away on Tuesday night, opening that aforementioned series against a Mets team that would love to play spoiler – and maybe edge their way into October baseball once again.