Cubs clinch tie for NL Central title, deal blow to Cardinals’ playoff hopes

The Cubs have provided an emphatic answerto all those alarmist headlines earlier this season that asked, “what’s wrong with the Cubs?”After the reigning World Series champions beat the Cardinals, 10-2, Mondayto clinch at least at least a tie for the NL Central title, the answer is, “nothing.”The Cubs can clinch the division outright with a victory, or a Brewers’ lo s Tuesday. Both teams have six games remaining.That the Cubs will almost certainly clinch their second straight division title seemed a foregone conclusion entering this season. After winning their first World Series since 1908, they looked like a dynasty in the making, with a core of talented young position talent, good pitching, and a manager in Joe Maddon who knew how to put it all together.But the Cubs stumbled through the first three months of the season, playing around the .500 mark, leading everyone to wonderwhat had gone wrong. As recently as Aug. 12, the Cubs were a mere 60-55.Since then, however, the Cubs have gone 28-13. Chicago hasled the majors in OPS (.820) and is second in runs scoredsince the All-Star break.Studof the NightHouston’s Marwin Gonzalez went 4 for 5 with a home run three RBIs and three runs scored in the Astros’ 11-2 win over the Rangers.Dud of the Night Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz gave up five earned runs, on seven hits and a walk, and lasted only two innings in Boston’s6-4 lo s to the Blue Jays.Pomeranz was hitting between87-89 mph on his fastball Monday afteraveraging92.74 mph on his 4-seamer last month, according to the Boston Globe.Highlights Aaron Judge madehistory with his 50th home run of the season, breaking Mark McGwire’s rookie record.Many have stepped to the plate. None have hit 50 homers as a rookie.Until now. #AllRise pic MLB (@MLB) September 25, 2017 Giancarlo Stanton usually makes the highlights because of his bat, but he play stellar defense, too.Taking a break from bashing HRs, @Giancarlo818 pulls off a catch! @Marlins RF covers 100 feet to convert this 38% catch probability. #Statcast (@statcast) September 26, 2017 What’s Next Cubs (88-68) at Cardinals(81-75) 8:15 p.m. ET Every remaining gameis virtually amust-win for the Cardinals if they want to sneak intoa wild-card spot.Meanwhile, the Cubs can clinch the NL Central title with a win.The Cardinals will count on Carlos Martinez (12-11, 3.63 ERA) againstJake Arrieta (14-9, 3.43 ERA)