The Cubs won yesterday and that meant their magic number for the best record in the National League was going to drop by at least one. The Washington Nationals also lost yesterday to the Miami Marlins and, of course, that means the Cubs magic number drops but not just one, but two. That brings the Cubs magic number down to 5.
Here’s the National League Standings as of this morning.
The Cubs have a record of 95-55 while the Nationals’ record is 88-62. That translates to a 7 game lead over the Nationals. With only 12 games left in the regular season, and the Cubs holding a commanding lead, it really is just a matter of time until the Cubs clinch the best record in the National League along with home field advantage throughout the NLCS. Remember, the World Series home field advantage is determined by the completely arbitrary and absolutely unrelated outcome of the All-Star game. The single worst rule ever put in place in baseball.
The magic number is calculated by taking total number of games in a season and subtracting the leading team’s win total and second place team’s loss total. In this case, the Cubs have 95 wins and the Nationals have 62 losses, with the Cubs holding the tiebreaker, 5-2 in head-to-head wins. So the calculation is 162 – 95 – 62 = 5.
The winner of the best record in the National League will play the Wild Card game winner. That race is between three teams. The NY Mets have a one game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants. The Cardinals, who the Cubs play starting this Friday, have won three straight games while the Giants, who’ve been awful in the second half of the season, have dropped three in a row.
As a Cubs’ fan, it quite nice sitting back and watching the dogfight for the Wild Card spots, knowing that the division title is already secured. In fact, we already have postseason merchandise available right here. That’s because the Cubs are the only team in baseball that has clinched a postseason birth so far. Now, it’s just a matter of keeping the players fresh and mentally engaged, a Joe Maddon specialty.