I made a series of comments in a thread earlier today and figured that I would consolidate them for general consumption here.
Right now the Cubs are 4 1/2 games up. That didn’t seem like too much of a lead to me until I started to actually look at the numbers. I went through the remaining schedule and looked at the series that are left. Here they are with the record that I would guess for each:
2 vs Houston (1-1)
3 at Cincinnati (2-1)
3 at St. Louis (2-1) – they look like they have quit
3 at Houston (1-2) – man are these guys hot.
3 vs Milwaukee (2-1)
3 vs St. Loius (2-1)
4 at NY Mets (1-3)
3 at Milwaukee (1-2)
I think that you will agree that I have been VERY conservative here and erred on the side of predicting more losses than I think that we will actually have. Even so, that shows a 12-12 record for the rest of the year. That puts our final record at 97-65. Doing this would require the Brewers to go 17-8 over their last 25 games to tie. Looking at their schedule, that is certainly possible, but it would require them to play really good baseball over the next month and the Cubs to play rather poorly. If the Cubs can find a way to split the NY series and take two of three from Houston in Houston or take both of these next two games, that pushes their record to 14-10 through the end of the year and 99-63 overall, requiring Milwaukee to go 19-6 to tie. I don’t think that this will happen ex Sheets.
Let's look at it a different way now. Taking the home/road win% for the year thus far into account, the Cubs to this point have won 69.8% of their home games. With 8 left that means we should expect between 5 and 6 home wins. (5.6) Lets give a nod to a strong schedule and say they win 5. With 16 road games left and a 52.3% road record, they should be expected to win between 8 and 9 of these (8.4.) Again, give a nod to a strong schedule and say that they win 8. That gives a record for the rest of the season of 13-11 and an overall record of 98-64.
The Brewers have 15 games left at home where they have won 62.1% of their games. This would lead us to expect between 9 and 10 wins at home (9.3.) Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt due to a weaker schedule and say they win 10. They have 10 left on the road where they are winning at a 54.9% clip. This would indicate between 5 and 6 wins there (5.5). Lets say 5 since 4 of these are at Philly and 3 in Chicago against the Cubs. This leaves them with a 15-10 record the rest of the way and an overall record of 95-67 giving the Cubs a 3 game division win. The Brewers will probably do a bit better than this, but this is what their season average would indicate.
Finally, let's look at this one final way in order to try to account for the strength of schedule difference a bit more. The Cubs record against each of the teams that they are playing for the rest of the year:
5 left vs. Houston. (6-7 so far) = 2 wins pessimistically.
3 left vs. Cincinnati (7-5) = 2 wins.
6 left against St. Louis (5-4) = 3 wins.
6 left against Milwaukee (6-4) = 3 wins.
4 left against NYM (2-0) = 2 or 3 wins (small sample size alert.)
This gives the Cubs 12-13 wins lets say 13-11 and an ending record of 98-64.
The Brewers have:
2 against the NYM (2-2) = 1 win
4 against San Diego (2-1) = 3 wins, again pessimistically.
6 against Cincinnati (6-6) = 3 wins
4 against Philadelphia (1-1) = 2 wins
6 against Cubs (4-6) = 3 wins
3 against Pittsburgh (11-1) 3 wins
This gives the Brewers a record of 15-10 and an ending record of 95-67.
My point is only that BOTH teams are going to have to play significantly different than their season long norms in order for the Brewers to catch the Cubs. Throw in an injury to Ben Sheets here if his groin strain does turn out to be something and it tilts the table in the Cubs favor even farther. Not saying that the Brewers can’t catch the Cubs or even that they won't, only that I feel pretty good about where we sit even after the loss of three in a row. Back away from the ledge, people...