Today’s an off day for the Cubs, as well as a couple of the other teams competing with them for postseason positions.
So I thought this would be a good time to look at the remaining schedules and what the teams need to do over the next week. Home games listed in boldface.
Cubs: 6 games (6 road)
at Braves (3), at Brewers (3)
We’ve been over this quite a bit in other articles here, and so all I really have to say here is this: If the Cubs win four of the six games and finish with 86 wins, they are probably in. The only “if” here, and it is a fairly large one, is that the Cubs have to finish a game ahead of the Diamondbacks, Marlins and Reds to make sure they’re in, because they do not have the tiebreaker against any of those teams.
The Cubs played well against the Braves at Wrigley in August, and they have played well against the Brewers in splitting 10 games so far this year. Seven of the 10 Cubs-Brewers games this year have been decided by two runs or fewer.
The Cubs are not yet eliminated from the top wild card spot (elimination number: 1), but realistically they are aiming for the second spot (trail by half a game) or third spot (lead by one game).
Diamondbacks: 7 games (4 road, 3 home)
at Yankees (1), at White Sox (3), Astros (3)
Including Sunday’s game at Yankee Stadium, which they won, the D-backs will play eight games in eight days in three different time zones, with starting times all over the map. With Saturday’s game rained out in New York, the Monday night game vs. the White Sox in Chicago was moved to Thursday afternoon so the D-backs and Yankees could make up that rainout today.
Those starting times are, in Central time, in order:
12:05, 6:40, 1:10, 1:10, 8:40, 7:10, 2:10
The White Sox don’t figure to provide much competition and the Astros have lost eight of their last 11, including being swept by the woeful Royals at home. They are fighting for their playoff lives. It’ll be an interesting final weekend at Chase Field. Of the four teams vying for two spots, Arizona is the only team with any home games remaining.
Marlins: 6 games (6 road)
at Mets (3), at Pirates (3)
The Mets have won seven of the 10 games against the Marlins so far this year, and the Marlins have not been a good road team in 2023 (35-40 so far). The Pirates have won eight of their last 12 and just took two of three in Cincinnati (thank you very much, Pirates!).
This will not be as easy as it looks for the Marlins.
Reds: 5 games (5 road)
at Guardians (2), at Cardinals (3)
The Reds have been better on the road (42-34) than at home (38-43) this year, an odd split. They split two games with Cleveland at home last month and are 5-5 against the Cardinals so far this year.
The Cubs lead the Reds by 2½ games. With one fewer game than the Cubs (and the other two teams listed above), it will be harder for the Reds to make up ground.
One last note about two teams that have not yet been mathematically eliminated: The Giants and Padres have identical 77-79 records and an elimination number of 2. The teams are playing each other in a three-game series beginning Tuesday in San Francisco. The winner of the series will eliminate the other, and then it’s just a matter of one further loss for the series winner to be eliminated. The Giants finish the season at home against the Dodgers while the Padres are in Chicago to face the White Sox. While both the Padres and Giants are still officially “in the hunt,” in practical terms it’s almost impossible for either to pass the four teams ahead of them to get into the postseason.
This is all we’ve asked for, meaningful Cubs baseball in September. We’ve got it. Fasten your seat belts, this should be an interesting ride.
Where will the Cubs finish the 2023 regular season?
This poll is closed
First wild card
Second wild card
Third wild card
Miss the postseason