This is an historical comparison of this year’s Cubs, who are 27-27 exactly at the one-third mark of the season, to previous Cubs playoff teams in the divisional play era after the same number of games.
The usual caveats apply. Every year’s different, every team is different, but this is simply to give some perspective. There’s been a certain amount of ledge-jumping this year because the Cubs have struggled at times. And yet, you can see by where this year’s Cubs are in comparison to the others, they’re probably not too badly situated.
2017: 27-27, second, 1 game behind
2016: 39-15, first, 9½ games ahead
2015: 29-25, third, 7 games behind
2008: 33-21, first, 1½ games ahead
2007: 23-31, third, 7½ games behind
2003: 30-24, first, 2 games ahead
1998: 30-24, second, 3 games behind
1989: 31-23, first, 2 games ahead
1984: 30-24, first (tied)
Again, the only valid comparison is to last year’s team which had many of the same players that this year’s team does. On the other hand, you can’t really make a fair comparison to the 2016 Cubs, who did things early on that few teams in baseball history had done.
One thing that’s nice is to have an ever-growing dataset of Cubs playoff teams. From 2007-16, a 10-year span, that’s now four postseason teams. Making the postseason this year would make five in 11 years. Things are improving!
And so they will for this year’s team, I believe. There can also be a fair comparison made to the 2015 Cubs, who also had a lot of the same players this year’s team does and who were just two games better after 54 games. Remember, too, that the Cardinals got off to a great start that year and the Cubs finished only three games behind them.
This year, no one’s been dominant in the N.L. Central. That puts the Cubs in good position to do that if they can keep playing the way they have the last few days.
Here are a few more numbers on the 2017 Cubs, which are completely irrelevant to anything but that I enjoy keeping just for fun.
Cubs 2017 regular-season record on various TV channels
CSN: 12-13 (includes CSN+)
ESPN: 1-3 (not including games also on other channels)
Cubs 2017 regular-season record wearing various uniforms
Home pinstripe: 15-10
World Series gold: 1-1
Blue alternate: 7-8
Road gray: 4-3
Special event: 0-5