Chicago Cubs open first week of August with must win games

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After falling flat on their faces to begin the second half of the 2015 campaign, the Chicago Cubs are on a bit of a hot-streak having won five in a row – four coming in a sweep over the Milwaukee Brewers this past weekend.

For the first time in a long time, this club who hasn’t been to the post-season since 2008 is 10 games above .500. It’s a great feeling, but just because they hit that mark doesn’t mean everybody needs to get comfortable with it. If they have any hopes of reaching the playoffs, they’re going to need to pile it on – especially this week.

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Having the worst team in the league coming into your home turf and walking away with a three-game sweep on top of a no-hitter was frustrating to witness. The moves this team made with Tommy Hunter and Dan Haren has worked out so far with Hunter picking up his first save as a member of the Cubs just a couple of days ago.

Haren, who was acquired from the Miami Marlins for both Ivan Pineyro and Elliott Soto, will make his Cubs debut on Wednesday during the series finale against the Pirates.

Now, Jon Lester will open up the week by squaring off against Francisco Liriano and the Pirates – a team who re-acquired Aramis Ramirez just 12 years after they shipped him off to the North Side of Chicago.

Tonight through Sunday will have the Cubs going up two teams standing in their way of the playoffs. They’ll have themselves a three-game set with the Bucs then another four with the defending World Series Champions San Francisco Giants.

As of right now, the third-place Cubs trail the second-place Pirates by 4.5 games but remain tied for the second spot in the N.L. Wild Card race with the Giants. Both teams have an overall record of 57-47 with the Washington Nationals only 2.5 games behind them.

Lester, Arrieta, and Haren are going to have to bring everything they have in order to beat the Pirates and hopefully the back end of this rotation holds up over the first two games at home. Both Lester and Arrieta will work on the mound sometime this weekend.

Here’s more from around the league:

Chicago Cubs: Rushing Javier Baez back won’t help anyone‘ – Cubbies Crib

Chicago Cubs Rumors: Utley being considered during waiver period?‘ – Cubbies Crib

Chicago Cubs grades for deadline moves‘ – Cubbies Crib

On the Pond: When will we see Jose Berrios?‘ – Puckett’s Pond

Cincinnati Reds: Getting to know Adam Duvall‘ – Blog Red Machine

Detroit Tigers: The Price of a farm system‘ – Motor City Bengals

Next: Addison Russel homers as Cubs complete sweep

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