If we were investing in NL Central teams, the Cubs would be the blue-chip stock that just keeps chugging along while the Brewers would be that IPO that fluctuated for a while but is now paying huge dividends. Milwaukee had 82.9 percent playoff odds just a little over a week ago, holding a mere 15.6 percent edge on the Cardinals as of September 5, but they’ve been a rocket ship since.
As you can see from the chart below, things have swung decidedly in the Brewers’ favor. They’re now up to 97.9 percent, where they trail the Cubs by only two points, and the Cards have plummeted to 54.2 percent. That’s a drop of almost 21 points since Tuesday, as the Cards now have just a one-game lead over the Dodgers for the second wild card spot.
The Dodgers beat the Cards Thursday night in St. Louis and the next three games between those two over the course of the weekend could determine who makes the postseason. Regardless of who gets that second spot, what really matters is the top position.
The Brewers have that solidly locked up at this point, with the Cubs 4.5 games ahead of everyone else. Maintaining the division lead is absolutely critical because it means getting additional rest and then facing a team that’s just had to burn its top pitcher to win the do-or-die initial matchup. Obvious as that is, it’s incredibly important for a Cubs team that could still be limping at the end of the season.
They’re literally limping right now after watching Pedro Strop hobble off the field Thursday night in DC. And with six games to go before their only remaining off day, the Cubs need all the extra rest they can get. It’s huge that they’ll be home this weekend and that their final 10 games are all back in Chicago, seven at Wrigley and three at The Rate.
All that matters is getting wins in whatever manner they can, since avoiding that crapshoot of a wild card game is the only immediate goal.