Once the Chicago Cubs get settled into the season, the month of May looms large. The waters that lie ahead are full of contenders looking to take aim at the world champs.
Highlighted by two healthy home stands, the Chicago Cubs will venture through May squaring off with some rivals and welcoming some familiar faces.
If knowing that they are the target isn’t enough motivation for the Cubs, the 2017 schedule definitely sets up the storylines. Manager Joe Maddon had echoed his mantra of “embrace the target” and this season they will need to.
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This year could and is shaping to be much more challenging than last season. The dirty side-effect of winning a title only heightens the pressure to repeat. When the Cubs face a team that believes they are legitimate, they’re going to get their best effort.
The Dodgers and Giants will be seeking revenge at every opportunity while the jilted Cardinals must defend their pride after losing the division by 17.5 games. The Cubs youth has proven that they can answer the bell. The month of May has its share of pitfalls, but maybe the laser eye focus of this team can overcome the “championship hangover”.
A healthy pair of home stands
The Cubs will open the month of May with a seven-game home stand. The Philadelphia Phillies will come in for a four-game set. Philadelphia may surprise some people this season and could make some noise in the NL East….for a few months.
The real story of this home stand will be the weekend set against the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers always draw a crowd. It will also mark the return of Aroldis Chapman and Starlin Castro to Wrigley Field.
Later on, Chicago will then sneak away for road tilts against the Colorado Rockies and the Cardinals.
After an off-day on Monday, the second home stand begins for a couple of divisional series. The Cubs will have six winnable games against the Reds and Brewers. Don’t be surprised if the Brew-Crew can steal a win or two with a four-game set against the Giants looming behind it.
The tail end of May presents a rematch of the NLDS and NLCS. Chicago will complete the home stand with the aforementioned Giants before heading for the southern California sunset. The Dodgers and Padres welcome the Cubs before we flip the calendar to June.
Cub fans will get to enjoy the sights and sounds of Dodger Stadium. And who doesn’t enjoy a game that starts after 9:00 p.m. central time? Be sure to set your DVR accordingly.
May includes nine games against the NL Central as well as a marquee interleague series with the Yankees. The month will be capped off with a possible playoff preview and could help determine the areas of need for this ballclub moving forward.
Next up: Life on the road…