Everyone knew the race from March to October for the NL Central would be close, but did anyone expect it to be this close?
On Sunday, the St. Louis Cardinals punched their ticket to October while reigning over a rainy Wrigley. Last night, the Milwaukee Brewers punched their ticket to October while Great American Ballpark served up a miniature home run derby for the opposition.
The magic remained at three as the Cardinals fell apart in the sixth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who had been eliminated but didn’t go down without sending a few poisonous snake bites to the birds during a three-game series in the desert.
The Brewers, according to many, were to fall into a pit of abyss after losing Christian Yelich — but they didn’t. They fought harder to prove themselves to everyone who had a mere thought of doubt toward them.
The two unlikeliest of teams have managed to keep the division open for grabs — slowly eliminating the Pittsburgh Pirates (who clearly wanted the season to end at the All-Star break), the Cincinnati Reds (who look to be a breakout team in 2020) and finally the prodigal Chicago Cubs (who led the division for the longest out of all five teams.)
Either team could clinch, either team could tie and battle it out for the division — the battle of the birds and the brew, which would be a Goliath versus Goliath soap opera of a game.
Both organizations want the division.
Neither plan of giving it up.
The numbers are there to prove both teams have an equal chance to win the Central. As of September 26 before the first pitch at Great American Ballpark, Fangraphs projects STL at 81.4% to win the division and MIL at 18.6% to win the division.
While there is a big gap between the two according to Fangraphs, the Cards will have to play a three-game series against the brooding eliminated Cubs and the Brewers will be in the heart of Coors for a three-game series.
If fans of either team (which I’m a fan of both, so please send good vibes to me) thought this coming weekend would be an easy ride into October, they need to buckle up because it’s going to be a rollercoaster of emotions. If you’re anything like me, there will probably be tears.
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)