The NL wild-card race might have decided itself over the weekend when St. Louis Cardinals swept the Chicago Cubs, who dropped four, one-run games in a row, and now find themselves four games behind the Milwaukee Brewers and Washington Nationals with only six games remaining in the regular season.
What a difference a week makes. Two weekends ago, the Cubs were on the inside track to a NL wild-card berth. However, even without Christian Yelich, the Milwaukee Brewers continued their sizzling streak. The Brewers won 15 out of their last 17 games, and are currently tied with the Washington Nationals in the wild-card race.
NL WILD CARD STANDINGS:
Washington Nationals 85-69
Milwaukee Brewers 86-70
Chicago Cubs 82-74
NY Mets 81-74
The Nationals actually have eight games remaining, compared to the six each for the Cubs and Brewers.
The Cubs came into this past weekend with a four-game series against the first-place St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs had an outside shot at picking off the Cards for a division title, but they were still in the thick of the NL wild-card race. However, the Cards and Paul Goldschmidt extended their division lead, and nearly knocked out the Cubs completely.
The Nationals aren’t exactly heading into the playoffs on a heater. The Nats dropped five out of their last nine games. They allowed the red-hot Brewers to catch them, but were lucky that the Cubbies played themselves out of contention.
The Nats host five games in four days against the Philadelphia Phillies. That includes a doubleheader on Tuesday.
The Nats close out the season with an interleague series against the Cleveland Indians. The Indians are currently tied with the Tampa Rays for the final spot in the AL wild-card hunt. The Indians will be in playoff mode, so the Nats want to make sure they locked up a wild card before the weekend.
A trip to the postseason is within grasp after the Nationals held off an onslaught of other hopefuls in the frantic NL wild-card race. The Nats have to finish out the season on a strong note, but they must make sure no one gets injured. According to FanGraphs, the Nationals have a 98 percent chance to lock up one of the two wild-card spots in the NL.
The Milwaukee Brewers are one of the hottest teams in baseball. The Brew Crew finish the season on the road. The Brewers face a series against the Cincinatti Reds this week. In the final weekend, the Brewers finish the season playing the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver.
According to Fan Graphs, the Brewers are a 92 percent chance to advance to the wild card. So long as they don’t do something stupid, they should lock up a postseason berth.
The Cubs lost six-straight games to shoot themselves in the foot. The Cubs are 6-11 over the last couple of weeks. Joe Maddon’s team wilted away at the worst-possible time.
“If you just play back the tape it’s almost unbelievable that it turned out this way,” said a dejected Maddon.
The Cubs finish the season on the road with three games in Pittsburgh (65-91), and a series in St. Louis. Only the Miami Marlins are a worse team than the Pirates, but even an easy foe at this point can’t save the Cubbies.
FanGraphs lists the Cubs at less than 3 percent to advance to the postseason.