The Chicago Cubs seem to be on their way to making the postseason in its weird, Wild Card game format. Their aim is a little higher than just making it, even if it is the first time in quite a while they’ve been this good.
The Cubs are at 72-51, which is only good enough for third in the difficult NL Central, ruled by the St. Louis Cardinals, 3.5 games ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates and 6.5 games ahead of the Cubs. But playing in such a tough division makes a good team although inexperienced like the Cubs better prepared for when the trials of the postseason, if they make it, arrive. Joe Maddon, in his first season as the Cubs’ manager, doesn’t see a reason why they shouldn’t think big.
We’re playing in maybe the best division in baseball. We play the Cardinals a lot. We play the Pirates a lot. We see what that looks like. Of course it’s possible for us to win the world series. You have to get to 5, 10, 15 and 20 games over and keep moving it from there. We just continue to play better baseball. Our young guys are really getting their feet on the ground. I don’t think anyone is highly fatigued. I think our pitching is in pretty good order right now. Plus, we’re playing better defense. You also have to pitch really well to beat good pitching, and you have to catch the ball on defense. As we continue to move this thing forward, I’m really going to keep an eye on those two areas. If we pitch it well and catch it well we could get to the playoffs and advance.
The Cubs have a 6.5 game advantage over the San Francisco Giants for that second wild card spot. They’ve won 20 of their last 24 games, their best 24-game stretch since 1945 which is also the last time the Cubs made the World Series. They won their most recent game with a Kris Bryant home run, and if they make it to 21 wins in 25 games, it would be the Cubs’ best 25-game stretch since 1938.
The Cubs haven’t played in the postseason since 2008, and haven’t won a playoff series since 2003.