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What a way for the Cubs to end the last homestand of the regular season.
Behind another comeback victory, the Cubs got the ‘W’ in their final scheduled game at Wrigley Field this season and completed a sweep of the Rockies. They clinched a winning record for the seventh time in the last nine years, and with control of their own postseason fate, they managed to hold their lead in National League Wild Card race.
Things will only get tougher over the next week. They’ll finish the season on the road with three-game sets against two different division winners. They’ve battled to get themselves into this position, and finishing that battle won’t be easy.
But the postseason is very much in sight, and if the season ended after Sunday, the Cubs would be in it. With six games left to go, they just need to take care of their own business to secure a spot in the playoffs.
Here is CHGO’s daily update on the Cubs’ postseason hopes and where things stand with the rest of the playoff contenders.
Play of the Day
Patrick Wisdom has moved to a more part-time role since the All-Star break. He’s only played in 32 games in the second half (starting just 21 of those), and Cubs manager David Ross has really tried to look for specific matchups to exploit in Wisdom’s favor.
In that time, Wisdom has thrived. His strikeout rate over his last 70 plate appearances is down to 25.7 percent, he’s posted 1.015 OPS and a 164 wRC+, and he’s slugged eight home runs.
That includes this go-ahead bomb to help the Cubs finish their last scheduled home game on a high note.
Quote of the Day
“The place was unbelievable [Sunday]. You could feel the energy. Even pregame, I was walking out to the bullpen 45 minutes before first pitch, and the left-field bleachers was basically full 45 minutes before first pitch. The fans here unparalleled. It’s crazy, because I’ve had quite a few family and friends come in and see starts at home, and they all say the same thing. They say, ‘This place is unbelievable,’ because it just resonates with everybody how special the fans are here, how special the environment is. And so, just to be able to be here and pitch in the comfort of home was awesome” — Jordan Wicks, on the atmosphere at Wrigley Field for the final home game of the regular season.
Even with a second straight Brewers loss Sunday, there’s virtually no way for the Cubs to catch them in the NL Central standings. Milwaukee is six games ahead with six left on both team’s schedules, and their magic number is down to 1. Another Brewers victory or another Cubs loss will end the division race. So, earning a wild card bid is essentially Chicago’s only shot at the playoffs.
First, a reminder that there’s no more Game 163. Of the seven teams with any chance at a wild card spot, the Cubs own the tiebreaker (head-to-head record) over only the Giants and Padres, while they’d lose it to the Phillies, Diamondbacks, Marlins and Reds.
Here’s how each of those seven teams fared Sunday:
- Cubs: Beat the Rockies
- Phillies: Beat the Mets
- Diamondbacks: Beat the Yankees
- Marlins: Beat the Brewers
- Reds: Beat the Pirates
- Giants: Lost to the Dodgers
- Padres: Beat the Cardinals
All of those outcomes mean the Cubs remain in the last wild card spot. They’re five games back of Philadelphia and a 1/2 game back of Arizona in the standings, and they maintained a full game on Miami. Cincinnati, San Francisco and San Diego are all still multiple games back in the race.
With that, the Cubs kept control of their postseason fate. It’s up to them to stack up wins and keep the teams below them in the standings at bay.
The Cubs completed their home regular season slate with a sweep of the Rockies. After an off day Monday, they’ll head to Atlanta for a three-game series before ending the year with three in Milwaukee.
Here are the remaining schedules for all seven teams still technically in the wild card hunt:
- Phillies: vs. PIT (3), @ NYM (3)
- Diamondbacks: @ NYY (1), @ CWS (3), vs. HOU (3)
- Reds: @ CLE (2), @ STL (3)
- Marlins: @ NYM (3), @ PIT (3)
- Giants: vs. SD (3), vs. LAD (3)
- Padres: @ SF (3), @ CWS (3)
According to FanGraphs’ playoff projections, the Cubs’ odds at clinching a wild card spot sit at 56.4 percent going into Monday. Among the top-seven teams in the race, the Phillies (100 percent) and Diamondbacks (84.2 percent) are given better odds than the Cubs. They’ve moved ahead of the Marlins (52.5 percent) with the Reds (6.7 percent) further behind, and the Giants and Padres — will still not officially eliminated — are given a 0.0 percent chance at the wild card.
Today’s pitching matchup
The Cubs are off Monday, but on Tuesday, they’ll have Justin Steele on the mound going up against Atlanta’s Bryce Elder. Check Tuesday’s update for the pitching matchup preview.
Tweet of the Day
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