The Colorado Rockies did the Cubs no favors this week, getting swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but the San Diego Padres were the Cubs' best friends the last two nights as they took two straight (both in walkoff fashion!) from the San Francisco Giants.
Now when did you ever think you'd be sitting around cheering for the Padres?
So thanks, San Diego, and Thursday night's Padres win over the Giants reduced the Cubs' magic number to clinch a playoff spot to 1.
And that means the Cubs are set up perfectly to clinch that spot Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Friday's game at Wrigley Field is the only afternoon contest on the schedule and it's being televised nationally on MLB Network. A Cubs win over the Pirates would put the Cubs into the wild-card game, most likely a rematch with Pittsburgh; it would also close the gap between the Cubs and Bucs to 2½ games.
A victory Friday would also be the Cubs' 90th of 2015, their first 90-win season since 2008 and just the sixth time they will have reached the 90-win mark since the last Cubs National League championship in 1945 (1969, 1984, 1989, 1998 and 2008 are the other five).
So, much is at stake Friday afternoon. Let's hope we witness an on-field celebration in the late-September Wrigley Field shadows.
I'll have a complete preview of this game here at the usual time for Wrigley 1:20 games, 11:30 a.m. CT, but wanted you to have this post for a head start on discussing the first of what we hope are many important fall days for the Cubs.