Time to get busy for the Cubs


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Matt Marton - USA Today Sports
Matt Marton - USA Today Sports

As the Cubs enter the “unofficial” start of the second-half on Thursday, they’ll have their work cut out for them. The Cubs open at home, playing five games against St. Louis in four days, followed by a four-game series with the Diamondbacks. Next, it’s a short flight to St. Louis for three, then off to Pittsburgh for two more, before returning home to face the Padres.

St. Louis, currently 7.5 games out of first, may play like a new, completely rejuvenated team after the ousting of manager, Mike Matheny on Saturday. Hungry to taste first-place, the Cards will undoubtedly be playing hard for interim-manager, Mike Shildt, as they did Sunday against the Reds (Final score: STL-6, CIN-4). The Cards open up the second-half with two rounds vs the Cubs (one away, one home), with another taste of the Reds in between. After that, it’s the Rockies and the Pirates, before St. Louis gets a chance at some easy wins over the Marlins and Royals.

Currently, in second-place in the NL West, Arizona trails Los Angeles by only a half-game. They’re no strangers to first-place though, having led their division for much of the season so far.

Pittsburgh may not be such an easy task either, as the previously slumping Pirates have now gone 8-2 over their last 10 games, single-handedly knocking the Brewers off of their first-place thrown with a five-game sweep. Fortunately for the Cubs, the Pirates had gone 4-6 in their previous 10 games before facing Milwaukee, or they may have, once again, been in the hunt for first.

The recently pathetic Brewers have it no easier than the Cubs do, to start their second-half. Opening up at home, the Crew plays Los Angeles and Washington, before heading out west to take on the Giants and the Dodgers. Returning home, Milwaukee then faces the Rockies and Padres, before heading off to Atlanta, prior to playing the Cubs for a two-game set at Wrigley Field. Early July was no time for the Brewers to find themselves off-pace, and getting back to the top won’t be easy.

I’ve said all along, that the Reds have what it takes to earn a third-place finish in the NL Central, and they’ll certainly have their hands full to start the second-half. Opening up at home, the Reds will face the Pirates for three, followed by three against the Cards and four against the Phillies, before heading off to Detroit.

Hard to believe that we only have another 2-1/2 months left in the regular season. What’s not so hard to believe, is that the Cubs are in first-place to start the second-half. Time to get busy for the Cubs and put some distance between their opponents… ALL OF THEM. Baseball season always seems to end much too soon, here’s to hoping that the Cubbies have a long and prosperous October. Everybody in.

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