A disappointing showing from the Chicago Cubs led to their lead in the National League Central shrink even further with just six weeks left in the season.
Now, a lot can happen in six days in Major League baseball – let alone six weeks. Nevertheless, the Chicago Cubs played some awfully uninspired ball on Tuesday against the second-place Milwaukee Brewers in a shutout loss.
With the win, Milwaukee closed in to within two games of first in the National League Central. And that’s not all, either. The St. Louis Cardinals took care of business at home against the Washington Nationals, drawing within four games of the Cubs.
It wasn’t so long ago the Cardinals seemed to be packing it in. A few more losses could’ve sealed their fate. Instead, they’ve ridden a scorching hot Matt Carpenter and a new-look bullpen right back into the mix of things.
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But, with just a few games left against St. Louis of the head-to-head variety, the Cubs can only control their effort on a day-in, day-out basis. And, at least right now, it doesn’t look great. Sure, David Bote put together a historic at-bat on Sunday – and that’s what we remember.
Take away that ninth inning, though, and the Cubs wouldn’t have tallied a run since the ninth inning on Saturday – an 18-inning span. The day prior? The offense was hitless into the sixth on Friday before breaking through against a lowly Washington bullpen.
In short, things could be going better.
Still, the Cubs enter Wednesday’s finale against Milwaukee 18 games above .500 with the best record in the league. But their play doesn’t seem befitting of a league-leading club. They’re just 6-4 in their last 10 – as the Cardinals continue to surge, winning eight of their last 10 ballgames.
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Chicago concludes a brief (thankfully) two-game set this afternoon against Milwaukee. Kyle Hendricks takes the ball opposite Junior Guerra. The Cubs then head east to Pittsburgh for a four-game weekend series.