Everything You Need to Know About Baseball Right Now

As fall approaches and temperatures begin to drop, baseball is heating up. With the regular season ending October 1, contending teams are pulling out all the stops to make sure they aren’t left out of the playoffs. One of the closest divisions races right now is, of course, between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago Cubs.

The Brewers led the National League Central for the majority of the first half of the season, but the Cubs muscled their way to a 2.5 game lead at the All-Star Break. Since the break, the Cubs have held onto their lead, but not without the Brewers close behind the whole time.

During the second half, the Cubs extended their lead over the NL Central to 5.5 games, however they came close to losing their lead entirely after completing two series against the Brewers earlier this month. The Brewers won both series and closed the gap to one game on September 10.

Since the final Brewers-Cubs series, the Brewers have closed the gap to a narrow half of a game behind the Cubs. The Brewers won both of their series against the Reds and the Pirates, and are currently embroiled in a series against the third-place Cardinals. The Cubs won their six-game road trip in which they faced the Diamondbacks and the White Sox but dropped the first two games in their series against the Cardinals.

At the beginning of the month, it seemed almost certain that the Cubs would win the division and the Brewers would play in the Wild Card game, but this has now been flipped upside down. The Brewers currently have a 3.5 game lead in the wild-card spot, yet winning the NL Central is now a serious possibility. The Cubs, who have not been able to lower their magic number from five, are scrambling to hold onto their lead. Both teams will make it to the playoffs regardless of who wins the division, although both would obviously like to avoid playing in the Wild Card game at all.

Neither the Brewers nor the Cubs had it easy this season. The Brewers were unable to trade for Orioles shortstop Manny Machado at the All-Star Break, who instead went to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Machado’s slugging ability would have provided a much-needed boost to the Brewer’s offense. A number of Brewers were also sidelined this year due to injuries; Pitcher Jimmy Nelson missed the entire season after undergoing shoulder surgery last year. Power hitters Ryan Braun and Eric Thames also spent time on the disabled list.

The 2018 season looked promising for the Cubs after they acquired pitcher Yu Darvish from the Dodgers during the offseason. Cubs’ fans hope quickly died out when Darvish was put on the DL in May with triceps tendonitis after securing just one win for Chicago. Despite several rehab stints, Darvish didn’t return this season and underwent debridement surgery last week. The Cubs also lost their closer, Brandon Morrow, to a shoulder injury, and the fill-in closer, Pedro Strop, to a strained hamstring.

While baseball fans knew that the pennant race would be close, no one knew it would be this close. Fans will agree that no matter the outcome, we can definitely count on good baseball as we enter October.