The Cubs won four out of six games in the final road swing of the regular season, reducing their magic number to win the NL Central to just five in the process. Chicago looks to wrap up the division at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates were officially eliminated from playoff contention Sunday, but in reality, they’ve been out of it for months. A couple wins over the Brewers in recent weeks helped the Cubs maintain a lead in the division.
Gregory Polanco was shut down for the season with a shoulder injury, but Starling Marte and Josh Bell are still offensive threats in the middle of the Bucs lineup. Keep an eye on Adam Frazier, who always seems to hit against the Cubs.
The Pirates’ starting rotation is the strongest aspect of their team. Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams have been particular standouts and the Northsiders will get to face Chris Archer for the first time in a Pittsburgh uniform. Archer has been disappointing since he was acquired in July, quieting the vocal wishes that the Cubs trade for him.
Other than a pair of clunkers in the middle of the recent road trip, Cubs starters have been outstanding in September. With an inconsistent offense over that same stretch, the pitching has kept Chicago in first.
Hopefully sometime this series, or at least this week, the Cubs will be celebrating a third consecutive division title. They control their own destiny and just need to take care of business in order to make a fourth straight playoff appearance.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Monday, September 24 at 7:05 pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago
- Tuesday, September 25 at 7:05 pm CT on MLB Network (out of market) and WGN
- Wednesday, September 26 at 7:05 pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago
- Thursday, September 27 at 7:05 pm CT on MLB Network (out of market) and NBC Sports Chicago
What to Watch For
- Kris Bryant sat out Sunday’s win with shoulder fatigue; just a precaution, but keep an eye on it.
- Kyle Schwarber went off against the White Sox series after missing time with a back injury. He walked three times and had four hits, including home run number 26.
- Ben Zobrist had five hits the last two games as he continues his excellent 2018.