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The Cubs, The Pirates, The Cardinals And Remaining Schedules

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We're down to just a little more than three weeks left in the 2015 regular season.

David Banks/Getty Images

ICYMI Thursday night, the Brewers and Reds did the Cubs a favor by knocking off the Pirates and Cardinals, respectively, so the Cubs now trail the Pirates by 2½ games and the Cardinals by seven.

With the Cubs' rainout Thursday, they will now play eight games in the next seven days and likely are quite thankful for the off day Monday. That will allow them to rework the rotation a bit. Jason Hammel was supposed to start Sunday in Philadelphia, but instead will be pushed back and start one of the doubleheader games in Pittsburgh Tuesday (Jon Lester will go in the other one).

For now, I'm leaving out the Giants and Nationals, the "closest" teams to the Cubs in the wild-card race. I say "closest" because the Cubs lead the Giants by nine games and the Nats by 9½, and are ahead of both by 10 games in the loss column. The elimination number for both is 15, and Fangraphs says the Cubs' current odds of making the playoffs stand at 99.6 percent.

Let's look instead at just the Cubs' divisional rivals' remaining schedules.

Cubs (24: 10 home, 14 road)

at Phillies (4), at Pirates (4), Cardinals (3), Brewers (3), Pirates (3), Royals (1), at Reds (3), at Brewers (3)

Pirates (23: 13 home, 10 road)

Brewers (3), Cubs (4), at Dodgers (3), at Rockies (4), at Cubs (3), Cardinals (3), Reds (3)

Cardinals (22: 7 home, 15 road)

at Reds (3), at Brewers (3), at Cubs (3), Reds (3), Brewers (4), at Pirates (3), at Braves (3)

The Cubs and Cardinals have one series each outside the division: the Cubs facing the Phillies and the Cardinals finishing the regular season against the Braves. The Pirates have two, with the Dodgers and Rockies. Otherwise they're playing the same teams, and each other.

The Cubs would seem to have it tougher than the Pirates, with more games on the road. But the Cubs are a better road team than the Pirates, though not by much (37-30 to 37-34). Perhaps of more importance is the Pirates' horrid record against the N.L. Central. The Bucs are 25-35 against N.L. Central teams, do not have a winning record against any of them, and have lost seven straight to the Brewers.

The Cardinals are a lesser team on the road (38-28) than at home (50-24) and have more than twice as many remaining games away from St. Louis than at home. They've also lost six of their last eight.

It would still take a monumental collapse for the Cardinals to not win the division (though we all can certainly root for that to happen!). The Cubs, though, are still in good position to overtake the Pirates for the top wild-card spot.