Crunch Time

Okay, here’s the situation: 71 games left, and the Cubs, after yesterday’s loss to Milwaukee, are 8 games behind the Cardinals. The Cards are at Wrigley Field to play the Cubs for the final two times this season.

The Cubs just about have to win both games to get back in the race. If they lose both, they’ll be 10 games out with 69 to go. If that happens and the Cardinals play .500 baseball the rest of the way, the Cubs would need to go 46-23 to win the division. Possible, but difficult.

But if the Cardinals play better late in the season, or even if they just don’t suffer a letdown, the Cubs may find themselves needing to go 54-15 or better over the next nine weeks to make the playoffs. With a shaky closer in LaTroy Hawkins and an offense that depends too heavily on home runs to score, that’s going to be tough.

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