Chicago Cubs, Jake Arrieta tasked with clinching National League Central

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs and Jake Arrieta aim to clinch the team’s second-straight National League Central crown Tuesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals.

After a dominant series-opening win on Monday, the Chicago Cubs need just one more victory to clinch a second-straight National League Central crown.

Chicago (88-68) hands the ball to right-hander Jake Arrieta, who looks to build upon his successful first start back from the disabled list. Arrieta (14-9, 3.43) may very well be the Cubs’ Game 1 starter in the NLDS against Washington next week. A lot of that depends on how he pitches against the Cardinals.

His last time out, Arrieta tossed five innings of one-run ball. It’s worth mentioning, Arrieta has thrived in these type of games. As points out, it was the right-hander who clinched the NL Wild Card game two years ago in Pittsburgh.

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Chicago appears poised to hit the postseason on a hot streak. After taking three-of-four from Milwaukee over the weekend, the Cubs continued their strong play in the opener.

Most notably, Kris Bryant has been unstoppable at the dish. The Cubs’ third baseman has hit .336 on the road this season. In the last week-plus, he has reached base multiple times in five-straight contests.

Opposite Arrieta, St. Louis (81-75) turns to Carlos Martinez on the mound. Martinez  (12-11, 3.63) represents the Cardinals’ last chance to keep the Cubs from clinching at Busch Stadium – a sight fans surely don’t want to see in Missouri.

Remember – even if the Cubs don’t win, a Milwaukee loss also clinches the division for Joe Maddon‘s club.

Starting lineups

Next: Who are the Cubs' starting outfielders in the NLDS?

What’s Next

Chicago and St. Louis continue their four-game set on Wednesday at Busch Stadium.

John Lackey (11-11, 4.67) starts for the Cubs and Michael Wacha (12-8, 4.00) takes the ball for the Redbirds.