Chicago Cubs magic number entering crucial weekend against Arizona Diamondbacks

The Chicago Cubs had a chance to make up ground against the Milwaukee Brewers as they faced the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday while the Brewers had the day off.
Arizona Diamondbacks v Chicago Cubs
Arizona Diamondbacks v Chicago Cubs / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

After a sweep of the San Francisco Giants to open the week, the Chicago Cubs began another important series on Thursday night as they opened a four-game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Milwaukee Brewers were off on Thursday so there was an opportunity for the Cubs to pick up a half of a game on the Brewers with a victory over the Diamondbacks on Thursday night.

The Diamondbacks are one of three teams that are on the Cubs' heels for the second wild-card spot in the National League.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the series against the Diamondbacks did not get off to a great start. The Cubs dropped Thursday's game to the Diamondbacks 6-2 and are now 2 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the National League game.

What is the Chicago Cubs' magic number to win the National League Central Division?

Fortunately for the Cubs, the Brewers had the night off on Thursday and no damage was done to their magic number. Entering play on Friday, the Cubs' magic number to win the National League Central division stands at 21.

The Diamondbacks, with their victory on Thursday night, moved to within three games of the Cubs for the second wild-card spot. The Cubs' magic number, in regard to clinching a Wild Card spot, is now at 18 games.

Help is also on the way for the Cubs.

The Cubs provided injury updates on Marcus Stroman and Michael Fulmer on Thursday and they were encouraging. Stroman pitched his second bullpen session of the week and the door appears to be opening toward a return before the end of the regular season.

Jameson Taillon is getting the start for the Cubs on Friday and the team is in desperate need of the veteran starting pitcher to turn his season around.

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