While much of baseball wrings its hands today over the possibility of too many tiebreaker scenarios screwing up the playoff schedule, the Cubs and Colorado Rockies keep their eyes on the truly high stakes involved in these final nine days of the season.
The three-game series at Coors Field that opens tonight has the potential to put one of these teams in commanding position for what Theo Epstein and Jason McLeod call their Super Bowl of the baseball calendar: next year’s draft.
The 104-loss Houston Astros have already clinched their second straight No. 1 overall pick by virtue of the worst record in baseball, but the Cubs and Rockies – with identical records entering the series – are well “ahead” of the Cleveland Indians in the race for No. 2.
The Rockies finish the season on the road, with three games each against the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. The Cubs finish with three in Arizona and three at home against Houston.
The last time the Cubs picked as high as No. 2 overall, they got Mark Prior in 2001.