The Brewers lead the NL Central with a record of 79 -63 . They are 3 games up on the Cubs and 6.5 games up on the Reds with 20 games to go. This is .5 games less of a lead than the Brewers had 15 games ago so they are largely holding steady. Based on winning percentage the Brewers, with a .556 winning percentage should win 90.07 games this season. The Cubs project to a mere 86.67 wins.
Significant at this time of the season, is that the Brewers are four games up in the loss column. Trailing teams don’t have the ability to catch up in losses without help from the leading team. Also, potentially significant in this race is that the teams are 5 -5 head to head. With the seriously expanding playoff picture, that head to head record may decide who gets crowned the division winner.
According to ESPN Expected Win/Loss the Cubs should be leading the NL Central by seven games now – up from 5 games about two weeks ago. Fortunately, Pythagoras never played baseball and the Brewers are out performing expectation based on some bastardization of his Theorem by four games.
Both the Brewers and Cubs have gone 5- 5 over their last ten games. The Reds failed to gain ground and have also gone 5-5. The Brewers and the Cubs have approximately the same strength of schedule with the Brewers playing the Marlins for seven games and the Cubs playing Atlanta and Arizona for three each.
The biggest issue for the Cubs right now is time is running out. If the Brewers go .500 for the rest of the season they end up with 89 wins. The Cubs will need to go need to go 13 -5 as they have only 18 games remaining. If the Cubs play .611 baseball and win 11 games the Brewers would still have to lose 11 of their next 20. At this point, it isn’t just the Cubs playing well, the Brewers have to faulter at least a little.
An update on how the Brewers fared against my projections at 35 games:
Padres at home for three games: 2 wins ---- Won all 3!
Cubs on the road for three games: 1 win ---- Won 1
Phillies at home for three games: 1 win ---- Won 2
Pirates on the road for three games: 2 wins ---- Won 1
Yankees on the road for three games: 2 wins ---- Won 2
Projected wins: 8 wins Actual wins: 9
This leaves the Brewers with a good shot at the 90 wins, I believe it will take to win the Central.
Marlins at home for four games: 3 wins
Nationals at home for three games: 3 wins
Cardinals on the road for four games: 2 wins
Marlins on the road for three games: 1 win
Cardinals at home for three games: 2 wins
Cubs at home for three games: 1 win
Record 91 – 61
The Cubs aren’t out of it, but we can start talking about the end game. The Brewers magic number is 17.