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The Cubs’ playoff push: Analyzing the NL Wild Card race

9 months agoJake Mozarsky

After Thursday night’s loss against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cubs enter their series against the Rockies tied for the final NL Wild Card spot with Miami, setting the stage for a wild final week of baseball. Chicago has nine games remaining left in the regular season and finds itself in the thick of the playoff race. 

The NL Wild Card race is a tight one: there are six teams, including Chicago, competing for three spots. The ones that clinch will play a three-game series in the Wild Card round starting on October 3. With how close the standings are, only one thing is clear: every game matters to clinch a playoff berth. Let’s look at the Cubs and each of their competitors’ remaining schedules, as well as their postseason odds according to Fangraphs and ESPN. 

Wild Card 1: Philadelphia Phillies (84-69, +5.0 WCGB) 

Playoff Odds: >99.9% on Fangraphs, >99.9% on ESPN 

Games Remaining: 9 

Remaining Series 

  • vs. New York Mets: 9/22-9/24 
  • vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: 9/26-9/28  
  • at New York Mets: 9/29-10/1 

*Wild Card 1 will host a three-game series against Wild Card 2 

Wild Card 2: Arizona Diamondbacks (81-72, +2.0 WCGB) 

Playoff Odds: 86.7% on Fangraphs, 86.5% on ESPN 

Games Remaining: 9  

Remaining Series 

  • at New York Yankees: 9/22-9/24 
  • at Chicago White Sox: 9/25-9/27 
  • vs. Houston Astros: 9/29-10/1 

Next is the two-way tie for Wild Card 3 entering Friday between the Cubs and Marlins. Due to MLB tiebreaker rules, Miami would win the tiebreaker and advance to the postseason if the teams are tied at the end of the season. The Cubs hold the tiebreaker over only the San Francisco Giants among postseason competitors.  

Wild Card 3 (tied): Chicago Cubs (79-74, 0 WCGB) 

Playoff Odds: 32.4% on FanGraphs, 33.4% on ESPN 

Games Remaining: 9 

Remaining Series 

  • vs. Colorado Rockies: 9/22-9/24 
  • at Atlanta Braves: 9/26-9/28 
  • at Milwaukee Brewers: 9/29-10/1 

Wild Card 3 (tied): Miami Marlins (79-74, 0 WCGB) 

Playoff Odds: 54.9% on FanGraphs, 54.1% on ESPN 

Games Remaining: 9 

Remaining Series 

  • vs. Milwaukee Brewers: 9/22-9/24 
  • at New York Mets: 9/26-9/28 
  • at Pittsburgh Pirates: 9/29-10/1 

*Wild Card 3 will go to the NL division winner with the worst record for a three-game series. 

Cincinnati Reds (79-75, 0.5 WCGB) 

Playoff Odds: 24.3% on FanGraphs, 24.4% on ESPN 

Games Remaining: 8 

Remaining Series 

  • vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: 9/22-9/24 
  • at Cleveland Guardians: 9/26-9/27 
  • at St. Louis Cardinals: 9/29-10/1 

San Francisco Giants (76-77, 3 WCGB) 

Playoff Odds: 1.2% on FanGraphs, 1.1% on ESPN 

Games Remaining: 9 

Remaining Series 

  • at Los Angeles Dodgers: 9/22-9/24 
  • vs. San Diego Padres: 9/25-9/27 
  • vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: 9/29-10/1 

The Cubs have an opportunity to get back into postseason position this weekend as they host the team with the worst record in the NL, the Colorado Rockies. Tune in to Marquee Sports Network as the Cubs face the Rockies today at 1:20 PM. Cubs Live! presented by Toyota with Cole Wright and Joe Girardi begins at noon.

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