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.”
The St. Louis Cardinals come to Wrigley tomorrow for a four game series. The Cubs are three games behind STL in the division. With 10 regular season games remaining, 7 of them will be against the Cardinals. Every game and every moment matters. Find a way to win, Cubs.
— Cubs Live (@Cubs_Live) September 19, 2019
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.
To get you excited (or a little nervous, but mostly excited) for Cards-Cubs, here’s my column for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch: https://t.co/iyxxItKSsK
— Benjamin Hochman (@hochman) September 19, 2019
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.
The Cubs’ immediate future may be shaped by 7 games vs. the Cardinals — including 4 at Wrigley — in the last 11 days of the season https://t.co/citTZW72a5
— Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) September 19, 2019