The Chicago Cubs have only qualified once for the playoffs since 2018, but they’re hoping to reverse that trend this season as the season hits its stretch run.
Currently, the Cubs are 74-64 on the season, and while they do trail the Milwaukee Brewers by 2.5 games in the National League Central, they do control their own destiny in the wild card race, with a three-game lead over the Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Here are the standings as we enter play on Tuesday:
Phillies – 76-61
Cubs – 74-64
Diamondbacks – 71-67
Reds – 72-68
Marlins – 70-67 (0.5 GB)
Giants – 70-68 (1 GB)
So what is the Cubs’ “magic number” to reach the playoffs?
Simply put, the “magic number” illustrates the number of victories a team needs, combined with the number of losses by an opponent chasing them in the standings, to clinch a playoff berth.
Currently, the Reds are technically the team in the first non-playoff spot in the wild card race, just percentage points behind the Diamondbacks in the standings.
Applying the formula provided by MLB, the Cubs’ current magic number to clinch at least a wild card berth currently stands at 21.
The Cubs will have to be sure to finish ahead of the Reds in the standings as well. Cincinnati will hold the tiebreaker over the Cubs at the end of the season, having won seven of the 13 games the two clubs played during the regular season.
The Cubs also lose tiebreakers to the Phillies and Marlins, but currently have an edge over the Giants in that regard. The Cubs have yet to play the Diamondbacks this season, but have seven games remaining against Arizona in the coming weeks.