MLB News: Cardinals, Cubs Begin Crucial Stretch of 7 Games in 11 Days

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It’s one of the juiciest stretches of schedule in Major League Baseball since the days of expansion. The St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs are set to play seven times over the final 11 days of the season. The archrivals separated by just three games in the standings will play their most meaningful games of the season against each other.

The stretch starts with four games this weekend at Wrigley Field in Chicago and ends with the final three games of the regular season next weekend at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

“This is gonna be a lot of fun,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said, according to NBC Sports. “It’s not an easy task. Anything and everything’s possible and we’re gonna go into it with that thought. It’s one at a time.”

Cardinals: Holding on

The first-place Cardinals are hoping to win their first NL Central title since 2015. They lead the Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers by three games each heading into the final 10 games.

A split in Chicago would keep the Cardinals ahead by three (at least over the Cubs) with just six games to play and the rest of their games at home.

But St. Louis is 0-6 at Wrigley Field this season and knows it must start winning games there in order to hang on to the lead.

Cubs: Now or never

For decades — really for most of their history — the Cubs had to play in the Cardinals’ shadow, even though Chicago is the bigger city. That has changed in the past five years, with Chicago winning division titles in 2016-17, making the playoffs four straight years and winning the 2016 World Series.

But this year, the Cardinals are back on top. The Cubs have lost plenty of close games and plenty of players to injury along the way. Through it all, however, they stayed close enough to make these games matter. Now they have to make them count.

There’s another factor for Chicago, too: If the Cubs can’t track down the Cardinals, they have to worry about the Brewers and Washington Nationals (who are 1.5 games up on St. Louis and Milwaukee) taking away the wild-card spots and leaving them completely out of October.

It’s like a seven-game series to end the regular season. And baseball fans everywhere can’t wait.

Written by GMS staff report

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