The Cubs didn’t win yesterday but that didn’t mean that their magic number for the best record in the National League didn’t move. It did. The Washington Nationals lost to the Atlanta Braves yesterday by the score of 7-3. That loss bumps the Cubs magic number down to 8.
Here’s the National League standings as of this morning.
If the Cubs win or the Nationals lose any combination of 8 games then the Cubs will be assured of home field advantage throughout the National League playoffs. That would be the next big goal for the Cubs to conquer in this magical 2016 season.
As a reminder, the magic number is calculated by taking total number of games in the season, 162, and, in the case of a possible tiebreaker, adding one. I erred in my calculation yesterday by inadvertently adding one, which isn’t necessary because the Cubs own the tiebreaker by virtue of 5-2 record in head-to-head games.
The calculation then becomes 162 – 94 (Cubs’ wins) – 60 (Nationals’ losses) = 8.
Joe Maddon has reverted to a lineup of regulars for today’s game against the Brewers. I suspect that he’ll stick with the regulars, rotating days off for one or two players each day, until the Cubs clinch home-field advantage. Once that happens, he’ll probably give the regulars another two or three days off in a row before going back to rotating days off through the end of the season. The Cubs only have 14 games left in the 2016 season.
The Cubs released their postseason schwag the other day too, some cool stuff so be sure to check it out.