Chicago Cubs may end up falling short of their 2018 win total

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Thursday’s victory over the San Francisco Giants marked win No. 69 for the first-place Chicago Cubs.

It has been a season of hurdles, but all hope is not lost for the Chicago Cubs as they currently hold a game lead in the division. With 35 games left, 18 of those are at home while 17 are on the road.

Entering the weekend, the Cubs hold the second-best home record in the National League at 44-19 behind Los Angeles. However, things haven’t been great for Joe Maddon‘s group while on the road has dropped 39 of 64 contests — fourth-worst in the National League.

Every other first-place team, both the American and National league, have a positive road record. Their current road total is on pace to be their worst in recent years. Same goes for their overall record as they have managed to reach 92+ since Maddon’s arrival in 2015.

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Does this mean that they are a horrible baseball team? Not necessarily, no. Sure, they’ve shot themselves in the foot on multiple occasions, but that’s going to happen. Games will be lost while pieces of the puzzle continue to be shuffled.

In the middle of it all is Maddon. Fans have been calling for Theo Epstein to fire Joe despite recording nothing but winning seasons since signing his name on a fresh contract. There’s no point in getting rid of the man when another division title is within arms reach.

Making it count

Reviewing the remaining schedule, September is loaded with essential dates featuring divisional opponents. Aside from six games involving Seattle and San Diego, the remaining 21 showdowns are against Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and St. Louis.

On Thursday, September 5, Anthony Rizzo and company will square off with the Brewers for the final time in the regular season. One of several key road trips that should be considered must-win given Milwaukee’s position in the standings.

Prior to that date, Chicago will play host to the reigning Central champs for the last time at Wrigley on August 30, dipping into early September. Although no one expects Cincinnati or Pittsburgh to compete for the division title, they’ll play the role of spoiler for the remaining three duking it out.

Next. Next year's bullpen could look different. dark

As long as the Cubs come out on top in the division, their overall record shouldn’t matter as much, right? The goal is clear, and guys such as Nicholas Castellanos are ready to close things out on a strong note.

Are you?