Chicago Cubs: Current stretch of schedule key in race for NL Central

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Assessing the challenge

With seventeen games in seventeen days scheduled, the Cubs have a chance to get hot, stay hot, and build some separation in the NL. Unfortunately, this same stretch of games offers the possibility that the team struggles and limps into the All-Star break.

The stretch started off well for Chicago, winning two of three in St. Louis. But things don’t get any easier with a red-hot Dodgers team coming into town this week for three games in two days. After these three games, the Cubs hit the road for four in Cincinnati and another four in LA, finishing up the stretch back home against the Twins.

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These consecutive game stretches are not new to these Cubs. In 2016, Chicago had one stretch of 24 consecutive days of baseball. It was, undoubtedly, their worst stretch of baseball in that championship season (9-15). In 2017, Chicago had two similar stretches, finishing a combined 20-17 in those games.

Considering the Brewers upcoming schedule and the current state of the NL Central, a 9-8 record at worst in these 17 games is a must.

It’s also noteworthy that the Cubs have a 23-day consecutive  stretch late this year as well. During that gauntlet, they will play the Brewers six times. That’s followed by eight games against Philly, Atlanta and Washington.

Obviously, that stretch will go a long way toward deciding the final National League standings. But this current sprint should not be ignored as it will help position the Cubs as either a leader or a chaser as the summer heats up.