With Friday’s win and the Cubs’ loss, the Milwaukee Brewers are two games up on Chicago for the second Wild Card with eight games to play. Is the race over? Have the Brewers won?
The Chicago Cubs current four-game losing streak has moved them from front runners for the Wild Card to on the outside looking in. This is because, of course, the Milwaukee Brewers have run their September record to 15-4. The Brewers’ September record is by far their best month of the year to date despite not having Christian Yelich, an injured Mike Moustakas, and a limited Keston Hiura.
It appears that the Brewers are firmly in the driver’s seat for the Wild Card, but is the race all over?
What do the numbers say?
FanGraphs has the Milwaukee Brewers with a 69.1% chance of winning the second Wild Card. Nice.
The Five Thirty Eight has the Brewers with an 83% chance of making the playoffs, and an 8% chance of winning the division. The Brewers are only three games in back of the Cardinals for the division with eight games left.
Baseball-Reference has the Brewers with a 66% chance of making the playoffs, but they haven’t updated for Friday’s games yet. A two-game lead over the Cubs with eight to play would increase the Brewers’ odds dramatically.
Are the Cubs done?
Another Chicago Cubs loss and a Milwaukee Brewers win would be tough to overcome. The Cubs Wild Card Elimination number is at seven, meaning a combination of seven Brewers wins and Cubs losses would push Chicago to an early vacation.
However, the Cubs have three games left with Pittsburgh Pirates and follow that with another three game set against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals may or may not have popped champagne bottles before the final series of the season, and could be playing out the year in an effort to get their regulars rested for the playoffs. The Milwaukee Brewers have three games against the Cincinnati Reds and follow that with three against the Colorado Rockies.
The race is still close, but a two-game lead, even with eight games remaining, isn’t quite as commanding as it sounds. A lot can change in two games. The Cubs are clearly struggling against a Cardinals team that sees a division title right around the corner. The Brewers are looking solid against a Pirates team that clearly wants to get to the golf course as soon as possible. The race is in the Milwaukee Brewers’ favor, clearly, but it’s not quite over just yet.