The Chicago Cubs Magic Number to secure the best record in the National League, and home field advantage throughout the National League playoffs, just keeps falling. It now stands at a mere 7 games thanks to the Washington Nationals losing on Sunday to the Atlanta Braves in a game that was called due to rain in the seventh inning. The Nationals lost 6-2.
Here are the current National League standings.
One thing I notice right away is how many teams are 5-5 in their last ten games. A lot of parity going on in the National League right now. With the Cubs dropping 3-of-4 over the weekend to the Milwaukee Brewers it certainly was a head-scratcher for some fans. Now, when you look at the performance of the rest of the entire league, including the Nationals who lost 2-of-3 against the last-place Braves, I guess the Cubs losing to the Brewers doesn’t look that bad.
To recalculate the Cubs magic number to clinch the best record in the National League we’ll take total games in the season (162), subtract the Cubs win total (94) and, finally, subtract the Nationals loss total (61) to arrive at a magic number of 7.
If – or should I say ‘when’ – the Cubs clinch home field advantage, they will play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Wild Card is down to the Mets, who lead by one game, the Giants and the Cardinals, who trail the Giants by one game. At this point, there’s no telling who will score the two coveted Wild Card spots.
The Cubs lost in the NLCS last year to the Mets but their pitching staff is completely decimated at this point. Both Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey are done for the year, which leaves them with Noah Syndergaard, and he can’t pitch in all five games. In fact, he’d likely only be available to pitch in game 3 of the NLDS since he will certainly be the starter if they make it to the Wild Card game.
The Cardinals feel like they’re falling away in the Wild Card race even though they’re only one game back. And the Giants are barely hanging on at this point. They are 22-39 in the second half of the season. It feels like the Wild Card game is going to consist of two teams that get there by default which is a whole lot different from last year, when the Pirates and Cubs played and were clearly two of the most dominant teams in all of baseball.