MLB tiebreakers could doom Cubs as playoff chances dwindle

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MLB tiebreakers could doom Cubs as playoff chances dwindle originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Chicago Cubs woke up Monday in a tie for the final wild card spot with the Miami Marlins, but that is unwelcome news in more ways than one.

Of course, there is the tailspin that the team currently finds itself in, with five consecutive losses and defeats in eight of their last 10 games.

That losing streak has dropped the Cubs’ chances of reaching the postseason from 92% to 46%, according to Fangraphs, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bad news for the North Siders.

Yes, they are currently tied with the Marlins for that third wild card spot, with a record of 78-72 on the season, and yes, they still own a half-game lead on the Reds and a 1.5-game lead on the Giants, so there is a scant cushion to work with in that chase.

They are also only one-half game behind the Diamondbacks despite losing six of seven contests to Arizona in recent weeks.

The bad news is that MLB’s new tiebreaker rules are going to be a formidable opponent for the Cubs to overcome.

When MLB instituted the wild card round to the postseason, they did away with one-game tiebreakers for playoff spots, meaning that they would use mathematical tiebreakers to determine which clubs qualify for the postseason.

For the Cubs, that is a bad break, because they currently hold a tiebreaker over exactly one team in their pursuit of a playoff berth: the Giants.

The Cubs lost their season series against the Phillies, Marlins, Reds and Diamondbacks, meaning that if they were to finish in a two-way or three-way tie with those specific clubs, then they would be eliminated from playoff contention.

Things do get a bit more complicated if the Giants are involved, and the Cubs do still have a chance of catching the Brewers in their season series, but the challenges facing the Cubs as they embark on their final four series of the season remain immense.

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