Separating the Cubs From the Mathematically Eliminated

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The night after guaranteeing they leave Milwaukee in first place, the Chicago Cubs further killed the Brewers’ playoff hopes as they extended the Milwaukee bullpen yet again to outlast them in extra innings.  It was not the prettiest of games, as the Cubs themselves had to get multiple innings from a few relievers, but in doing so, they saved the arms of bullpen anchors like Pedro Strop and Wade Davis for another day, while other guys like Brian Duensing and Carl Edwards Jr (and even Mike Montgomery after a short turnaround) came in to get the game to extras before Edwards closed it out.  Along the way, the Cubs reduced their magic number and took the pressure off their own shoulders and placed it squarely on the shoulders of their chasers as elimination season intensifies…

That’s a gentle reminder that you should follow us on Facebook, where the community has gotten a bit more tolerable after people told us to stick to sports and we were all like “LOL no.”  But I digress, check out this epic at-bat from Jon Jay first:

https://twitter.com/Cubs/status/911399787022430208

Among other things, including Javier Baez and Addison Russell doing their shortstops up the middle thing, Ben Zobrist finally sneaking a well-placed ball past diving Brewers, and Tommy La Stella breaking the camel’s back with a pinch-hit bases-loaded walk, the Cubs have solidified their hold on the NL Central and all but punched their ticket to the postseason:

To go from under .500 to the seventh best record in MLB is pretty cool.

This is also intriguing to me because both leagues are so top heavy as the contenders make their final push while the rest of the field slinks back to prepare for 2018.  The American League only has five teams above .500 at the moment, two of which have won their divisions, and all five are probably going to make the playoffs.  In the senior circuit, two divisions are spoken for as well with the Cubs again firmly in control of their own destiny.  Their closest rivals in the Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals are running out of time and head-to-head matchups to catch them, and also running out of time to chase down the Colorado Rockies, who are actually behind the Cubs in the standings.  In fact, the Brewers and Cardinals are the only NL clubs to not be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet, and they’re closer to the wild card than they are to the Cubs.  So worst-case scenario, you can perhaps see the Cubs enter as a wild card again for a win-or-go-home game before they have to face the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This current series against the Brewers is reminiscent of 2008, when the Cubs and Brewers were close in the standings before Milwaukee got swept and Chicago went on to win the division easily.  Right now, the minimum is a split this weekend.  I think we’ve entered the part of the season where we can finally stare dismissively at the other teams and their fan bases…

We’ll end this with your daily Javy defense porn as we wait for the afternoon game.  Told you we’d be okay.

 

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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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