Quantifying Hope: Cubs Still Clinging to 26.5% Postseason Odds

The graph below of the Cubs’ postseason odds looks like a child’s rendering of the Tetons, except there’s no way in hell anyone would want to stick it on their refrigerator. That might be fitting, though, since the Cubs have gone cold over the last month outside of sweeping a pair of NL West opponents. The problem is that they were also swept in the course of losing seven of eight to another team in that division while managing to drop two in Colorado.

Now all that’s left is a series in Milwaukee and the hope that the Marlins fall flat in Pittsburgh before possibly having to finish the final inning of Thursday’s rain-out in New York. The potential for chaos has the Cubs keeping their heads above water, just barely, with a 26.5% chance of reaching the postseason.


While the standings show the Cubs a half-game behind Miami, that is effectively 1.5 games due to the Marlins’ possession of the tiebreak advantage. As such, it’s going to take at least two wins against the Brewers just to force the Marlins to finish that game, and even then the Cubs could end up on the outside looking in. Which then begs the question: Do you really want to watch the Cubs in the playoffs at this point?

I know a lot of you out there find it blasphemous to hope David Ross and Co. don’t make it, but there’s also a non-insignificant number of fans who just want to see this season end. Some want the manager’s head to roll, an unlikely result that becomes even less so if the Cubs continue playing past the end of the regular season. Others simply don’t believe this group can make any noise given the current bullpen situation and overall malaise, so it’s best to avoid (additional) failure.

As someone who hates losing more than he loves winning, I vibe pretty well with that latter sentiment. That said, I would love nothing more than to somehow sneak back into the playoffs and then beat the Brewers, even if the Cubs get smoked in the next round. That’s probably like a 99th percentile outcome at this point, so I’ve accepted the idea that it’s not happening.

And that’s just too bad because there was a time there in July and especially August when the Cubs were really, really fun to watch. Everything was coming together and the setbacks they encountered as a team only seemed to make them better. All those little obstacles add up over time, though, and the mental effort of pushing to climb from 10 under to 10 over .500 appears to have taken its toll.

How you view this year’s Cubs will ultimately come down to whether you put more weight on what could have been or what could still be, then it’s a matter of how much faith you have in the organization to make things better. Faith doesn’t require eyes and hindsight has perfect vision, but those looking ahead might need to borrow a pair of rose-colored glasses.

How are you viewing the Cubs right now?

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