Chicago Cubs: Successful homestand sets the tone for the final month

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

Despite dropping Wednesday’s finale against the New York Mets, the Chicago Cubs are once again playing well in August as they eye the postseason.

Really, should we be surprised? Every year, when the calendar flips to August, Joe Maddon‘s Chicago Cubs kick it up a notch. This month seems to be no different as the club enters Thursday’s makeup game against the Atlanta Braves at 17-9 in August.

Of course, that includes a recent seven-game win streak – a season-best for the Cubs. Starting pitching has been dominant of-late (aside from Alec Mills‘ outing on Wednesday) and the offense seems to have finally found its footing behind veteran Daniel Murphy and a scorching hot Anthony Rizzo.

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Now comes the make-or-break stretch in the Cubs’ daunting schedule – here’s how it breaks down. Fly from Chicago to Atlanta for a one-game make-up from earlier this season. Then turn around and head up to Philly for three against the upstart Phillies.

Then, starting on Labor Day, the Cubs head up I-94 to Milwaukee for a three-game series against the Brewers, who need a strong showing to avoid falling out of the division race. The brutal road trip concludes with a three-game set in Washington before the Cubs finally get a day off on Sept. 13 – their first such day since Aug. 20.

September roster expansion will undoubtedly play a huge part in Chicago’s success over the final month of the season for the simple fact the team can’t run everyone down to empty while expecting another deep postseason run.

But, for now, let’s just focus on ending August on a high note. Wins over Atlanta and Philadelphia to round out the month would allow the Cubs to finish a full 10 games over .500 in August – their best single-month mark of the season.

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What’s Next

Chicago battles the Braves on Thursday night down in Atlanta. Left-hander Mike Montgomery (4-4, 3.62) makes his return from the disabled list opposite All-Star hurler Mike Foltynewicz (10-8, 2.67).