This series in Milwaukee has 'make or break' vibes for the Cubs

Losers of 6 of 8, Chicago needs a huge showing against their NL Central foe

Chicago Cubs v Los Angeles Angels
Chicago Cubs v Los Angeles Angels / Rob Leiter/GettyImages

It's been a roller coaster of a year for those of us following the Cubs. A strong start offered hope, only to be washed away by a brutal month or so. Then, it seemed like things clicked and Chicago ran off 11 wins in 13 games only to turn around and drop 5 of 6 on its final homestand of the first half.

David Ross and the Cubs kick off a critical four-game series up in Milwaukee on Monday afternoon, with the team's hopes of getting back into the race at stake. Now, I know you can look at the fact they're just six games out or that they're the only team in the division with a positive run differential, but there's no debating the importance of this series.

Cubs control their own fate heading into this critical series

A sweep could pull the Cubs back within two games of the Brewers. Of course, the suddenly on-the-rise Reds are a factor here, too, entering the week tied with Milwaukee atop the standings. But there's a big difference between heading into the final weekend of the first half at 42-44 or, in a worst-case scenario, 38-48 - a scenario that would almost guarantee the front office will again sell at the deadline.

Chicago has the rotation set up just the way you'd want it: with Drew Smyly, Kyle Hendricks, Justin Steele and Marcus Stroman set to throw in the series. But it's going to come down to the offense producing - and doing so in big spots - to swing things back in the Cubs' favor. A furious rally late on Sunday night fell short, but it was at least encouraging to see the bats battle in that situation.


I know there's a lot of baseball left to be played this summer. But as Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins made clear last week - at some point, they'll have to pick a lane. And a bad series against the team they're chasing in the standings could force their hand.