The series stands at 1-2 in the Cardinals' favor to start the day. The Cubs maintain a 2.5 game lead in the division. Despite tough match-ups yesterday, a double-header sweep is a hard pill to swallow. Taking at least 1 of the remaining 2 and maintaining a multi-game lead would be some consolation.
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Darvish flirted with perfection and Contreras carried the load offensively to a win in the series opener. That puts the Cubs up 4.5 in the division and 4 games remaining in the weekend series. Now the teams gets set for a home-away double-header, with both games being played at Wrigley; 2020 baseball is weird. The Cubs are back over .600 to start the day, and the Cards are under .500.
The first place Cubs and second place Cardinals square off for the first of a five-game set at Wrigley. With the Cardinals only 3.5 back and almost two thirds of the shortened season already on the books, this is as important a series as there could be for either team this year.
The Cubs escape Cincinnati with a 2-2 split and head to Pittsburgh to try to catch a cheap ride on the NL central's caboose. Things have not gone well for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who enter the series at 10-22.
Game 1, Tuesday, Sep. 1, 6:05 pm central
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (2-1, 4.55 ERA)
PIT: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-1, 2.52 ERA)
Game 2, Wednesday, Sep. 2, 6:05 pm central
CHC: Kyle Hendricks (3-4, 4.09 ERA)
PIT: Derek Holland (1-2, 7.62 ERA)
The Cubs have a 4-game set scheduled in Cincinnati, including a doubleheader on Saturday. As of my writing this, it is not entirely clear whether these games will be played. Multiple professional leagues are now on strike--in response to police violence and domestic terrorism and in solidarity with protesters. Players on multiple MLB teams chose note to play on Wednesday and Thursday. As we have never been able to forget this year, bigger and more important things are happening than professional sports. However, I have listed the projected match-ups below, should the series be played.
Having barely dodged a sweep at the hands of the 3rd-place White Sox, the Cubs now take-on the 4th-place Tigers in Detroit. Unlike the hot Sox, the Tigers are 2-8 in their last 10 games. This could be a chance for the Cubs to add to their lead before a stretch of 18 games against NL Central opponents Aug. 28-Sep. 13.
Despite falling off a blistering pace this last week, the Cubs fought to hold their ground. They can now proudly welcome their south side rivals with a superior 16-8 record to the White Sox's 15-11. Still, this Sox team is no collection of slouches. They have entered their competitive window, and the Cubs will now have to face some young stars entering their primes.