One Rival Vanquished (For Now), Another Waiting in the Wings

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Ivy’s a bit ill lately so we’ll skip some series recaps for now, but I wanted to get this in because of the significance of such dominance so far in the 2016 Chicago Cubs season.  For example, the Cubs could potentially lose Dexter Fowler to the disabled list for a bit (stay tuned), but it’s okay, because they called up Willson Contreras and all he did was this:

Unreal.  What is also unreal is the fact that the 2016 Cubs, after sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates again, are 12.5 games up in the National League Central and about to face the second place team…and it’s June 20, the first day of summer.  Their magic number at this point is in the 80s.  They’re doing this with the Cardinals having played one more game and the Pirates two more, so this is with games IN HAND.  The Cubs are already 8-1 against the Pirates this year, and 4-2 against the Cardinals before this coming series.  They’re very good at baseball and it’s hard to argue otherwise, even if fans want to blow up the bullpen or for Miguel Montero to retire already (neither will happen yet so don’t hold your breath).

To put this in perspective, think about how good it is that the Cubs banked so many wins early, and are continuing to win around two-thirds of the time even in some slumps that caused a few fans to scream to the heavens and wonder what went wrong.  The Cubs have their own destiny in their hands, and yet they’re playing with a lot of fun, focus, and results because they’re trusting the process and doing what they need to in order to stay in the best position to churn out victories at a mad-cap pace.  I’ve seen fans wonder whether the Cubs are flawed here and there (I mean, they are four games behind their expected win total), whether they really want home field advantage (they’re 3.5 games over the Texas Rangers in three fewer games played), and other random nitpicks.  So let’s do some napkin math to alleviate some of those concerns…

  • The Cubs are currently 47-20.  The Cardinals are 35-33, the Pirates are 33-36.  So that means the Cubs have 95 games left, the Cards have 94 games left, and the Pirates have 93 games left.
  • The current pace puts the Cubs at 114 wins, the Cardinals at 83 wins, and the Pirates at 77 wins.
  • Let’s say you need just 90 wins to take the NL Central.  The Cubs would need to go 43-52 in their final 95 games (a .453 win percentage, which, hahaha yeah right at this point), the Cardinals would need to go 55-39 in their final 94 games (a .585 win percentage, which is doable but somewhat unlikely), and the Pirates would need to go 57-36 in their final 93 games (a .613 win percentage, which again is doable but they still have to play the Cubs 10 more times).
  • If the Cubs go even .500 the rest of the way (and we should justifiably expect better), that’s 47-48 if we’re being glass-half-empty, and that’s still 94 wins.  And it means the Cards and Pirates have to win an extra four games than outlined above to match that total.

Anyway, enough of that, let’s see what the Cubs are dealing with in this home series before they go back on the road…

St. Louis Cardinals @ Chicago Cubs

Monday, June 20
7:05 PM Central
Jaime Garcia vs. John Lackey
TV = CSN, Radio = WSCR AM 670 The Score

Tuesday, June 21
7:05 PM Central
Adam Wainwright vs. Jason Hammel
TV = ABC 7, MLB Network (out of market), Radio = WSCR AM 670 The Score

Wednesday, June 22
1:20 PM Central
Michael Wacha vs. Jake Arrieta
TV = ABC 7, Radio = WSCR AM 670 The Score

If all goes well, we’ll have a pretty fun home stand recap for you guys on Wednesday or Thursday.


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About Rice Cube

Rice Cube is the executive vice president of snark at World Series Dreaming. He loves all things Cubs, with notable exceptions (specifically, the part of Cubs fandom that pisses him off). Follow on Twitter at cubicsnarkonia

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