Chicago Cubs fans have had to wait as long as humanly possible to figure out their playoff fate. While the Cubs already clinched a playoff birth, their exact postseason schedule is still yet to be determined.
The Cubs have two different paths depending on the outcome of their tiebreaker game against the Brewers. If the Cubs win, they will win the NL East and secure the No. 1 seed in the National League. In this scenario, the Cubs first playoff game would be on Thursday, October 4th in the NLDS.
If the Cubs are on the losing end of their matchup against the Brewers, their postseason path gets a bit more challenging. Chicago would play the NL West’s second-place team in the Wild Card game on Tuesday, October 2nd at 8 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. In this scenario, a win in the Wild Card game would have them play the Brewers again in the NLDS. A loss would eliminate them from the playoffs.
The Cubs Will Either Play in the Wild Card Game or NLDS
To summarize, the Cubs will either be playing in a Wild Card game on October 2nd or in the NLDS on October 4th. There are early and late NLDS games on October 4th. The Cubs had an opportunity to win the division heading into the final day of the regular season, but they needed the Brewers to lose. Cubs manager Joe Maddon admitted that the team’s playoff path has been a bit different.
“It’s a weird vibe,” Maddon told MLB.com. “It’s different. That was a part of a three-game run where we had to win on Sunday, Monday and the Wild Card Game to eventually get to the Division Series…For me, it’s unusual that I’m in this position again. You really try to treat it as any other game, other than bullpen utilization. The fact that it’s not an elimination game — there’s another caveat attached to this, too…I woke up today, I feel like it’s a regular-season game. There was no different vibe or feeling to me, other than, of course, you want to win this game. The only difference would be how do you utilize your bullpen. Today takes on a different level.”
Regardless of the outcome of the Brewers-Cubs game, Chicago will not know who they will play next in the playoffs until after the Dodgers-Rockies game has been completed Monday night. It is a unique situation in the NL Central given the Cubs and Brewers have the two best records in the National League. Unfortunately, the second place team will have to play in the Wild Card matchup despite having a better record than the other division leaders.
Source: Heavy Sports