The Cubs were at 86.5% playoff odds on September 5, but they’ve experienced a precipitous drop in the ensuing week. It took a win in their finale with the Padres on Thursday to bump them up to 51.9% after the previous two losses had them just under the 50% mark. That was as low as they’ve been since April 20 (48.6%), which is pretty ironic when you think of it.
You know, because 4/20 is when you get high.
The upcoming homestand is going to be big, opening with three games each against the Pirates and Reds and closing with four with the Cardinals. Those 10 games will make or break a season in which the Cubs have fallen down and not gotten up far too often. Win the games they should and get over on the Cards, they’re good. Drop more than two games to the Central bottom feeders and split or lose three to St. Louis, season’s over.
It’s really that simple. The Cubs are theoretically capable of running off 10 straight to jump right back into first place, but they’re going to need to do something different to make it happen. Maybe that’s keeping Anthony Rizzo at leadoff or being more aggressive on the bases, not that the latter has worked out well to this point.
The Cubs have either slept through Big Boy Time or missed it due to the various time zone shifts associated with frequent travel, so they need to wake the hell up right now. No excuses, no platitudes about maintaining the process or being less tolerant with relievers or whatever. October may have begun in March in what was supposed to be a season of reckoning, but it can end in the next week if the Cubs don’t hit the gas.