There probably have been bigger weeks for the Cubs this season than the seven-game stretch waiting for them against the Pirates and Cardinals, starting Tuesday. I just can’t think of any at the moment.
You might look at it as academic anyway — the Cubs likely won’t catch St. Louis to win the National League Central, and they’ll likely end up with the second wild-card spot behind Pittsburgh.
Probably but not definitely. And that’s what makes this week so fun and, possibly, so dramatic.
The Cubs start with a four-game series against the Pirates in Pittsburgh, including a double-header Tuesday. They trail the Pirates by four games for the first wild-card spot. The owner of the top wild-card berth gets home-field advantage in a one-game playoff against the second wild-card team. So, kind of a big deal.
The Cubs trail the first-place Cardinals by 6½ games. It would take one of the all-time collapses for St. Louis to spit up that lead, but the Cards have lost seven of their last 10 games. The three games in Wrigley, starting Friday, could be huge. The Cardinals play three games in Milwaukee before coming to Chicago. The Cubs could use some help from the Brewers, which is like asking for directions from a corpse. But that’s why they play the games, sources tell the Sun-Times.
The Cubs are going to be dangerous in the postseason, no matter the opponent and how many games they’ll get to play. There’s a part of me that thinks being away from Wrigley for a one-game playoff would be a good thing. Less pressure. Fewer reminders of all the unfortunate things that have happened inside. The ballpark is friendly, yes, but it can be oh so confining.
Might as well aim as high, though. Aim for the Cardinals and a division title. Crazier things have happened. Mostly to the Cubs, but you get my point.