Central Intelligence

Week 22: Cubs on a countdown to clinch

The Cubs eliminated both the Reds and Brewers this week, and their magic number to clinch the NL Central is down to just 11! The Cardinals still hold the second wild card spot, and the Pirates are 3.5 games back from them despite losing six straight games. The NL wild card race is shaping to be very exciting down the stretch.

Chicago Cubs 88-48
St. Louis Cardinals 71-64 16.5 GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 67-67 20.0 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 60-76 28.0 GB
Cincinnati Reds 57-78 30.5 GB

NL Wild-Card

San Francisco Giants 73-63 +1.5
St. Louis Cardinals 71-64
New York Mets 71-66 1.0 GB
Pittsburgh Pirates 67-67 3.5 GB
Miami Marlins 68-69 4,0 GB

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs won 3 of 4 games over the weekend against the Giants at Wrigley Field in one of the most exciting regular season series of 2016. Each game was decided by just one run. The Cubs now have a +224 run differential, far and away the best in the MLB (Red Sox are next at +143). The Cubs will likely clinch the NL Central sometime next week.

The Cubs will smartly be rolling with a six man rotation in September to give their starters extra rest. The Cubs have an 8.5 game lead over the Nationals for the top spot in the NL, so they shouldn’t have to worry too much about wins and losses down the stretch.


Milwaukee Brewers

Puig Braun

The Brewers nearly made a big trade this week for Yasiel Puig, but it didn’t work out. The Brewers could reportedly revisit the trade in the off-season. Alex Tekip of ESPN has the story:

Could the Milwaukee Brewers revisit their interest in Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig in the upcoming offseason?

It’s possible, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports.

Puig was placed on revocable waivers last month. At least one team claimed him. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Friday, citing sources, that the team was the Brewers, who made a “legitimate attempt to complete a deal” for Puig. Nightengale reports the Dodgers and Brewers couldn’t come to an agreement.

Rosenthal adds that Ryan Braun, who’s reportedly drawn interest from the Dodgers, was part of the talks and the Dodgers “only intended to trade Puig in (a) package for a better player.”

Puig rejoined the Dodgers on Friday after a spending a month with the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City. He started in right field and batted fifth against the San Diego Padres.


Pittsburgh Pirates

Nicasio Pirates

The Pirates have lost six straight games, but are still only 3.5 games out of the second wild card spot (the exact same amount they were behind last week!). The Pirates were brutally swept by the Brewers at home over the weekend. In three of the Pirates last five games, they have been shutout.

The Pirates have a huge three game series at home against the Cardinals starting today. The Cardinals currently hold the second wild card spot, and it is pretty imperative that they at least win the series.

Jung Ho Kang began a rehab assignment this week. Gerrit Cole is hoping to return on September 12th.


St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals

The Cardinals lost 2 of 3 in Cincinnati over the weekend. The Cardinals lead for the second wild card spot is down to just 1.0 game over the New York Mets. The Mets are hot, winners in 12 of their last 16 games. The good news for the Cardinals is that the Giants are just 15-29 since the all star break, and the Cardinals are just 1.5 games out of the first wild card spot.

An update on the Cardinals wild world of injuries: Aledmys Diaz and Jordan Walden both began rehab assignments over the weekend. Matt Adams returned to the Cardinals this week, and Mike Leake is expected to return on Tuesday. The Cardinals are also still hopeful that Matt Holliday, Michael Wacha, and Trevor Rosenthal can all return at the end of September. The chances of Lance Lynn miraculously returning in 2016 is looking very unlikely.

One thought on “Week 22: Cubs on a countdown to clinch

  1. Solid, just solid. Theo and Jed have done a marvelous of bring the Cubbies from oblivion to dominance in a very short time. They have the $$$ to support FA aquisitions and trades to build the farm system and fill holes in the majoe league roster.

    .272/.382/.433
    .273/.383/.433
    .294/.390/.544
    .305/.401/.581
    .247/.338/.448
    .245/.331/.428

    The Heyward (.234/.306/.325) contract ($184MM/7 years) looks a little shaky, but Heyward is only 27 years old and has a career slash line of .263/.347/.417 with superior defensive results. The catcher options (.797 OPS & .803 OPS) round out a formidable lineup with no easy outs.

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