After winning eight of 10 games against last-place teams, the Cubs faced a tougher task against the first-place Reds at Wrigley this week. Or so it seemed through the first few innings of their Monday loss. But after falling behind 3-0 in the first game of the series, the Cubs ended up outscoring the Reds 46-21 to knock them from their perch atop the division.
Taking three of four from Cincy while the Brewers also struggled pulled the Cubs to within 2.5 games of the top spot and has them just two out of the Wild Card. The Cubs now boast their best playoff odds of the year at 37.8%, putting them nearly eight points ahead of the Reds. The Brewers, however, are still way ahead…for now.
“It’s just another defining moment of, ‘We have a really good team,’” David Ross said after Thursday’s win. “We’ve been playing good baseball as of late. That shows that. That is a good team over there in our division that we’re chasing.”
If that sounds somewhat familiar, it’s probably because Ross’s former teammate and fellow catcher Miguel Montero famously started using #wearegood in his tweets back in August of 2015. That Cubs team felt a little like this one, at least in that a lot of folks had given up on them in late July when they were no-hit by Cole Hamels. They went on to be the best team in baseball over the rest of the season, eventually winning 97 games and earning a trip to the NLCS.
Am I saying this squad is going to go 41-13 over their final 54 games? No, but that’s not wildly better than the ’15 team going 46-20 following that no-no. The Cubs are really fun to watch since the skein of doubt and indecision was lifted just ahead of the trade deadline. There’s zero doubt in that clubhouse about their ability to take over the NL Central lead and then make some noise in the postseason, and that confidence is showing through in their play.
Now it’s time to see how they stack up against the Braves, who have both confidence and the best record in baseball. If the Cubs can win the weekend, look out.