With only 7 games to go, and 3 Consecutive Wins to start the“7 Games Against The Cubs”, the Cardinals are becoming The Team in the NL Central… What an incredible 3 wins.
Today's back-to-back home runs from Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong were complete back-breakers for the Cubs. As we'll discuss below, the Cardinals have left the Cubs for dead after only 3 games (of the 7 Game Mini-Series). As such, let's take a look at the lovely looking numbers after this amazing 3rd consecutive win at Wrigley.
According to the two common MLB Post-Season Odds makers, as of September 21, 2019, the MLB Post-Season odds are as follows:
While things still look good for the Cardinals, as I noted previously, these odds fail to factor in the exact opponents left in the schedule. So let's take a detailed look at the road ahead for all 3 NL Central Teams.
(Magic Numbers: 5 Division, 2 Wild Card)
There are just not enough adjectives to described it... These 3 wins against the Cubs were gigantic! We all looked at those 7 Cubs Games on the schedule.. and the Cardinals have -- amazingly -- won the First Three in a Row... All At Wrigley. That is tremendous! The Cardinals are in the Post-Season driver's seat and control their own destiny as they lead the division by 3.5 games (with the Cubs a far-away 6 games out). With a Division magic number of 5 (with 7 games to go), any combination of 5 (wins by the Cardinals) + (losses by the Brewers) will give the Cardinals the NL Central Division. And merely 2 (wins by the Cardinals) + (losses by the Cubs)... and the Cardinals are in the Post-Season. The odds are aligning giving the Cardinals over 99% of making the Post-Season, and around 95% chance of winning the Division.
On Sept. 16, the Cubs had a 76.7% Chance of making the Post Season (via Fangraphs). After today's game??? It's basically over.... The Cubs odds are a mere 12.7% of making the Post-Season, and LESS THAN 1% ODDS FOR WINNING THE DIVISION. The Cubs have been left on the side of the road by the Cardinals (and Craig Kimbrel's pitching)
(6 Games Back Division, 2.5 Games Back Wild Card)
(Magic Numbers: 13 Division, 11 Wild Card)
As before, the Cubs no longer control their own destiny. With 3 losses to the Cardinals to start this series, the Cubs cannot simply win out and guarantee the Division or the Wild Card. The path for the Cubs to win the division (6 games back with 7 games left) is almost impossible. The path for the Cubs to win a Wild Card spot is possible, but with the Brewers playing only weak teams to go, it will be very, very tough for Cubs to catch up -- especially if the Cardinals continue to beat them!
(3.5 Games Back Division, Wild Card Leader)
(Magic Numbers: 12 Division, 6 Wild Card)
On the other hand, the Brewers still control their down destiny for a Wild Card spot. As we noted previously, the Brewers are taking serious advantage of the Cardinals and Cubs facing each other in The 7 Games. While the Cubs were favored 3 days ago over the Brewers, I noted clearly that the Brewers "should be significantly favored above the Cubs." Right now, the Brewers just need to win 6 of 8 (against ONLY below-.500 teams) to guarantee a Wild Card spot. And if the Cubs lose further, the Brewers' job becomes easier and easier to clinch. On the other hand, with 3 consecutive wins by the Cardinals, the Brewers chances to win the NL Central are dropping -- even with their easy schedule. With less 8 games to go (7 for the Cardinals), the Brewers will need to have a combination of 12 (wins) + (losses by Cardinals) to win the NL Central. Those odds are tough -- especially the way the Cardinals are playing. But, considering their schedule and the Cubs' position, the Brewers are in the drivers' seat for a Wild Card spot!
As promised, it’s going be a wild ride over the next two weeks. Each game is meaningful, and each game has significant impact on which of these NL Central Opponents will make the Post-Season. The Cardinals continue to lead each of the other teams, but now, only Cardinals and the Brewers control their own post-season destiny
Adam Van Grack is an attorney at the law firm of Longman & Van Grack, LLC practicing litigation, business law, and sports law. Adam is a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals having attended Washington University in St. Louis for college and law school. Adam has been previously appointed as the Chair of a U.S. Olympic National Governing Body.