The Chicago Cubs have not been the dominant team that many thought that they would be during the lead up to the current Major League Baseball season. They flirted with mediocrity right up to the All Star break when they actually trailed the Milwaukee Brewers by a handful of games. However, a strong stretch after the break helped the Cubs take a lead in the NL Central. Nonetheless, they remain the only division leader that is not in a comfortable situation as teams prepare for the last 40 games.

Other leaders ahead by at least 5 games

Looking around the American and National Leagues, the other division leaders have Margin For Error.

The Boston Red Sox lead the New York Yankees by five games in the AL East. The Cleveland Indians also have a five-game lead over the Minnesota Twins. The Houston Astros have seen their lead shrink in the AL West of late, but they are still well up on second-placed Los Angeles, with the Angels a full dozen games back following play on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Washington Nationals are 14 ahead in the NL East while the Los Angeles Dodgers certainly won't be caught in the NL West as they lead their division by a virtually insurmountable 20 games.

But Chicago does not have much margin for error themselves as there are two teams in pursuit of them atop the standings. Those teams are the Milwaukee Brewers and the St.

Louis Cardinals. The Cubs enter Monday with a two-game lead over Milwaukee and a 3.5-game lead over St. Louis. The Pittsburgh Pirates are not out of contention as they are 6.5 games back. That means that the Cubs will likely have to play well in order to clinch their division this season. They cannot simply hope for the teams behind them to play poorly as there are too many in pursuit for them all to struggle.

Should the Cubs not play well then you would have to think that just one of Milwaukee, St. Louis, or Pittsburgh would catch the Cubs and the result would be a potential disaster.

Wild card may be off the table

The NL West division is one that may yet produce three playoff teams.

The Dodgers will go for sure, while Colorado and Arizona may yet make the wild-card game. They have .548 and .540 winning percentages respectively, following play on Sunday. If those two teams finish high enough they could block the other NL divisions from sending anyone but a division leader to the 2017 Major League Baseball playoffs. In short, the upcoming stretch for Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh will be crucial as only one of those teams may make the playoffs.