How do the Cubs stack up in the NL Central?
That’s the question I’ve been asking for the past month as I watch the Cubs build towards the postseason.
This year’s postseason picture is even murkier than usual, with five teams in a playoff position with six games left, and it’s easy to see why.
I’ve written before about how I believe the Cubs’ chances are best in a four-team division, with the NL West holding the advantage.
But here’s the thing: the NL is only six teams deep.
In the past, a four team division had a good shot at making the playoffs.
The NL West has seven teams.
That’s only three teams deeper than the NL East.
This season, the NL seems to have the better chances of making the postseason, but there are a few teams that are going to have to work hard to make the postseason in the meantime.
And that’s where the NL Wild Card comes in.
While the Wild Card is one of the most intriguing divisions in baseball right now, the division has been a mixed bag for the last two years.
The Cardinals and Diamondbacks, who are still alive in the race for the Wild West title, have both struggled this season, while the Rockies have struggled mightily as well.
In fact, the Rockies are the only team in the division with a winning record.
And while the Cardinals and Dodgers have been able to stay competitive in the AL West, there’s no telling what could happen this year if the Dodgers fall apart in the standings.
There’s a reason the Dodgers have only two games remaining in the regular season.
It’s because of the Wild Cards.
Here’s a look at what the NL’s five wild card teams are going through right now: Arizona Cardinals Atlanta Braves Boston Red Sox Chicago Cubs Cleveland Indians Colorado Rockies Detroit Tigers Houston Astros Kansas City Royals Los Angeles Angels Los Angeles Dodgers Minnesota Twins New York Mets New York Yankees Philadelphia Phillies Pittsburgh Pirates San Diego Padres San Francisco Giants Seattle Mariners St. Louis Cardinals Tampa Bay Rays Texas Rangers Texas Rangers Washington Nationals The Cubs’ best chance at making a postseason push comes if their offense takes a big step forward.
The Cubs offense is ranked among the best in baseball by wRC+ and slugging percentage, and they’re only three games out of the NL lead in both categories.
And when it comes to offense, they have a chance to make a run in the wild card race if their defense holds up as well as the offense.
The Chicago Cubs are coming off a big, deep lineup, led by three MVP-caliber hitters in Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Javier Baez.
They’re also led by a guy who leads all NL hitters in batting average (.320), RBIs (77), and extra-base hits (36).
If the Cubs can start getting back on track offensively, it could give them a shot at a postseason berth.
The Milwaukee Brewers are a very similar team to the Cardinals in that they’re just three games away from the division lead.
They have a few things going for them, too.
They’ve won seven straight and seven of their last nine games.
They play in a division that’s been competitive since it was established in 2011, and the Brewers have won the last three NL Central Division titles.
They also have a veteran starting rotation in Milwaukee’s Aaron Harang and Kyle Lohse.
If the Brewers can stay healthy, and if the offense can carry them to the playoffs, the Cardinals might have a shot.
Milwaukee also has a very young team.
This is the time of year when young talent is at its peak, and I’m excited to see if the young talent can carry the Brewers to the postseason this year.
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