Note: This article was posted after the Cubs-Rockies game on September 23, 2023.
The week started out with the Cubs winning Tuesday night against the Pirates. Then on Tuesday it looked like they’d steal the second game when it was 8-6 after the fifth inning. However, the bullpen would wind up blowing it. With seven games left the Cubs are 3-2 going into their final home game of the regular season against the Colorado Rockies.
It looked like Stroman would be back in the rotation sometime before the season ended after he had not pitched in a week going into Saturdays game, which he started. Logically that would be pushing Assad and Jordan Wicks both back one game for their starts. Nope, Assad relieved Stroman pitching four innings. Meaning Wicks will start Sunday. Leaving Justin Steele to pitch the first game in Atlanta Tuesday and if needed the last game of the regular season in Milwaukee next Sunday.
Thanks to injuries to guys in the bullpen and Jed Hoyer not giving David Ross a solid pitching staff that would last the entire season 60% of the Cubs opening day rotation is in the bullpen right now. As a result, the division will be Milwaukee’s before the Cubs get to Miller Park at this point let’s look at the Wild Card race. My fellow writer, Steve Leblang, commented to me a couple days ago that he thinks the Wild Card race could end up being a best of 6 to close the season because the Cubs and Brewers could play each other in the first round best of three. If that were to happen the Cubs have the tie breaker and those games would happen at Wrigley.
Ten days ago there were five teams fighting for the last two Wild Card spots in the National League. Those teams were the Diamondbacks, Cubs, Marlins, Reds, and Giants. That battle appears to have gotten slightly easier with the Cubs sitting in the third Wild Card spot going into play on Sunday ahead of only the Marlins. They still hold their destiny in their own hands and they have three games this week against the Braves who will likely be resting up for the playoffs even though they will get a first round bye.
Here’s the thing folks: A few weeks ago it did look like the Cubs might steal the division from the Brewers. However, the chances of that were quite slim. Their only realistic chances of making the playoffs this season were by taking one of three Wild Card spots. This season continues to have a lot of reminiscence of the 2015 season.
My only remaining question at this point is: Will the Cubs make a deeper run in the playoffs this season than they did in 2015? At the end of the day if my fellow writer Steve is correct and the Cubs get home field advantage in the best of three Wild Card series to start the playoffs I do not see them getting past the National League Division series, likely against Atlanta.
With that… it’s time to play out the string and keep our fingers crossed for a Wild Card spot Cubs fans.
If you cannot play with them, root for them!