The Cubs played their 108th game of 2015 Friday. Defeating the Giants, they raised their record to 60-48, a .556 winning percentage. Playing at that percentage for the rest of the season would be a 30-24 mark, something I think is quite achievable, and would give the Cubs their first 90-win season since 2008.
It would also likely get them into the wild-card game. In 2013, the four wild-card competitors had 94 wins (Pirates), 92 (Indians and Rays) and 90 (Reds). But last year, the four wild-card teams had 89 wins (Royals) and 88 (Giants, Pirates and Athletics). This is too small of a sample size to really draw any conclusions from, but it would appear that 90 wins ought to get any team close, if not into, the postseason.
The Cubs have made the postseason six times since 1945. Here is how they stood in each of those seasons two-thirds of the way in, and what they did the rest of the way:
- 1984: 63-45. Went 33-20, finished 96-65, won N.L. East.
- 1989: 61-47. Went 32-22, finished 93-69, won N.L. East.
- 1998: 61-47. Went 29-26, finished 90-73, won N.L. wild card.
- 2003: 55-53. Went 33-21, finished 88-74, won N.L. Central.
- 2007: 57-51. Went 28-26, finished 85-77, won N.L. Central.
- 2008: 64-44. Went 33-20, finished 97-64, won N.L. Central.
As you can see, there were varying degrees of success in the final thirds of those seasons, and in a couple of them they had one game cancelled (thus only 53 games in the final third), and in 1998 played 55 games with the wild-card tiebreaker.
To me, the most comparable year to this one is 1984, even though this year's team likely won't win 96 games nor the division. It was just about this time of year in 1984 that the Cubs got hot, sweeping the Mets in a four-game series at Wrigley and establishing a division lead they never relinquished. They went 20-10 in August 1984, and are 5-1 so far this month.
Let's keep it going. This is great fun.