With 18 games remaining, the Cubs are still in 1st place and 2.5 games ahead of their nearest rival, the Cardinals. They welcome the 4th place Reds to Wrigley for a 3-game series before heading out for a brief road trip to Milwaukee. There are 10 games left against the NL central for the Cubs. Cincinnati enters the series a long shot for the division at 5.5 back, but they have the same number of wins as Milwaukee and more than the second-place Cards; they are very much still in the playoff hunt.
The Cubs now have a 3-game losing streak in the middle of this series. They come into the day 1.5 games ahead of the Cardinals in the division. Will they win the finale and hold the Cardinals at a distance, or will they find themselves with a rival right on their tail?
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.
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.