CHICAGO — As the final week of the season arrives, the Cubs are in the position they’d hope to be in when the 2023 season began.
With six games remaining, they control their playoff fate, but they’ve got a lot of work to do to lock up a playoff bid over the next seven days.
Thanks to a three-game sweep of the Rockies, the Cubs are now 82-74 on the season.
That puts them in the last playoff spot in the National League Wild Card race, sitting a full game ahead of the Marlins and 2 1/2 games ahead of the Reds with six games to play.
To just make the postseason, the Cubs’ “Magic Number” currently sits at six, but they still have a shot to move up one more spot. At the moment, they sit a half-game behind the Diamondbacks for the second spot as Arizona has seven games remaining in their season.
One thing to consider, however, is that the Cubs don’t hold the tiebreaker against the Diamondbacks, Marlins, or Reds. Should the Cubs finish in a tie with any of those teams they would lose the tiebreaker, which could cost them seeding or a playoff spot entirely.
This is due to the changes in the playoff format with the introduction of an extra Wild Card, which eliminates the “Game 163” tiebreaker.
Getting to the postseason will be difficult for the Cubs since they face two of the best teams in the National League to finish out the season.
Starting Tuesday, the team begins their six-game, season-ending road trip with three contests against the MLB-leading Braves. They come into the series with a 100-56 record & hope to clinch the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
After that comes three games with the Brewers in Milwaukee, who have a “Magic Number” of one to clinch the division.
Here are the schedules for the other teams in contention for a Wild Card spot with the Cubs.
- Diamondbacks – 1 game at Yankees, 3 games at White Sox, 3 games vs. Astros
- Marlins – 3 games at Mets, 3 games at Pirates
- Reds – 2 games at Guardians, 3 games at Cardinals
If the Cubs can clinch a Wild Card spot, it would be their first postseason appearance since they won the NL Central in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. The last time they got into the playoffs as a Wild Card was the 2018 season.