Thanks the Padres come from behind win last night in a game started by Madison Bumgarner, the Cubs are nearing what was inevitable a month ago: a spot in the postseason. It's been so long that we've known this was coming that the Cubs even moved their rotation around so to ensure that Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta would each face the Pirates in both of the series they had against them (one of them starting today). The hope was they could still catch the Pirates and have that game on October 7th at Wrigley Field.
That's still possible, but 3.5 back (3 in the loss column) and it's probably unlikely at this point. The Cubs are in a position where they almost have to sweep Pittsburgh for that to happen. Even if it does, the Cubs have a home game against the Royals on Monday and then head out for their final 6 games of the season on the road. Pittsburgh heads home for 6, but 3 of them are against St. Louis so there's that I guess.
I've been one all season long who has felt the Cubs were better than the Pirates and that they'd eventually catch them. Even back when the seaosn started when I still pegged this team for 75-78 wins, I felt the Cubs were better than the Pirates. It's still possible they catch them, but it's not likely. I still think they're the better team, but they're younger and more inconsistent. That inconsistency should improve as they get older.
The Cubs are very close to clinching a spot in the playoffs and I'm certainly excited for that, but it's entirely possible they're done after 1 game. I like the way MLB has this set up currently. It puts more emphasis on winning your division, which I think is a good thing, but I wonder if there are too many divisions. Does MLB even need divisions at this point? Could the Wild Card teams play a brief 3 game series? I don't know the answers to these questions, but I think time off is a big concern for teams. They don't want too much of it.
So I like the current setup as much as possible given the three divisions in each league, and am super excited to see what the Cubs can do in the postseason. I'm also hesistant to go all crazy about one game. I'm going to be disappointed if they lose that game to Pittsburgh. One game just doesn't feel like you reached the postseason.
But in the scheme of things, this is year one. This is the first year the Cubs were supposed to be somewhat competitive. They've been a lot more than that and they should be a lot better in the future.
A win today and the Cubs clinch the fucking playoffs. That's something to be excited about even if it could be only one game.