Chicago Cubs: Postseason push takes center stage in St. Louis


Cubs have opportunity to put Cards on high-alert for postseason

The talk around the Chicago Cubs message boards online has centered on “worry about the Pirates, not about the Cardinals”. That may have somewhat held true until now, as the Cubs head to St. Louis for a three-game series against the division-leading Redbirds. For Joe Maddon‘s young Cubs, this will be a test on many levels. First for winning meaningful games on the road in September, and showing they can beat the Cardinals when it matters most.

The Cubs (78-57) enter the game 8 1/2 back of the Cardinals and haven’t conceded the race for the NL Central yet. If they hope to make a realistic run at the division, this series will be pivotal. The Cubs will send Dan Haren (8-9, 3.89) to the hill in the opener. Haren has continued to allow the long ball, which has become part of his M.O. Without overpowering stuff, he pitches to contact and expects it, hence why his allowing home runs in nine straight appearances isn’t a surprise.

The Cardinals (87-49) will counter with Lance Lynn (11-8, 2.80). Lynn rolled his ankle in his last outing and subsequently had his start pushed back a few days. In his last three starts, he’s allowed just four runs across 19 2/3 innings.

The Cubs are hoping to get Kyle Schwarber back in the lineup after missing some time with a strained rib cage. There’s been no timetable set by skipper Joe Maddon, but he says Schwarber has looked stronger with each passing day.

The Cardinals have the best home record at 49-22 while the Cubs are 35-29 on the road, trailing only the Cards for best away record.

First pitch is slated for 1:15 p.m. ET at Busch Stadium. WGN will have the television coverage while WBBM 780 will have the radio broadcast.

Here are the lineups for today’s opener:

Next: Maddon favoring the bullpen down the stretch