The Rockies and Cubs did exactly what they needed to Thursday by earning wins and extending their division leads to a full game.
Entering play Thursday, the Rockies and Cubs were in a position where they could be heading into their final series of the season in a tie for the division lead, but thanks to a 5-3 win over the Phillies by the Rockies and a 3-0 win over the Pirates by the Cubs, both teams can lock up their respective divisions by winning out.
Not to say that is going to be easy, the Cubs have to defeat a Cardinals team that is on the ropes and the Rockies have to take down a Nationals team fighting for some dignity, but the fact is if the teams win, the divisions are theirs.
There’s a lot to be said for that in the final days of a season.
The Brewers, who are now one game back of the Cubs in the Central, host the Tigers in their final three games of the season. The Dodgers, who sit one back of the Rockies as well, face off with the Giants on the road.
The only way either team can win their respective divisions is for the Cubs or Rockies to lose two out of three in their final series of the season. They can tie if they sweep and the Cubs and Rockies win two out of three or if they win two of three and the Cubs or Rockies lose two of three.
Studs of the Night
Giancarlo Stanton went 2 for 3 with two solo home runs and two walks in the Yankees’ 12-1 win over the Rays.
Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas tossed seven shutout innings with six strikeouts in a 4-1 win over the Braves.
Dud of the Night
Tigers reliever Matt Hall allowed five hits and four earned runs in one inning of work in a 9-3 loss to the Twins.
Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi maintained the tie for Kansas City in the eighth inning with a nice play in the hole with runners on second and third with two outs of a tie game against the Indians. Kansas City won 2-1 in 10.
Adalberto Mondesi, y’all ? pic.twitter.com/Zfw7RJb1rf
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) September 28, 2018
What’s Next (Playoff Special)
Cardinals (87-72) at Cubs (93-66), 2:20 p.m. ET — Adam Wainright (2-3, 4.08 ERA) vs. Kyle Hendricks (13-11, 3.49). The Cubs have a one game lead on the Brewers.
Tigers (64-94) at Brewers (92-67) , 8:10 p.m. ET — Jordan Zimmerman (7-8, 4.31) vs. Zach Davies (2-7, 4.65). The Brewers really need a sweep if they want to win the division. At the least they have to win two of three.
Nationals (81-78) at Rockies (89-70), 8:10 p.m. ET — Joe Ross (0-1, 4.09) vs. Kyle Freeland (16-7, 2.84). Freeland is 9-2 with a 2.36 ERA at Coors Field this year. Win Friday and Colorado needs only one more victory to seal at least a tie for the division title.
Dodgers (88-71) at Giants (73-86) , 10:15 p.m. ET — Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-3, 2.00) vs. Madison Bumgarner (6-6, 3.20). The Dodgers got a tough draw here as Bumgarner will undoubtedly want to prevent a division rival from getting closer to the playoffs. Los Angeles needs a sweep too.