The Cubs’ sweep of the Cardinals put them in strong control of the National League Central with two weeks remaining in the regular season. Their magic number over the Brewers dropped to 10, and over the Cardinals it’s eight.
Still, business has to be taken care of and games need to be won before the Cubs have their date with October baseball.
Here’s what remains for all three contenders in the N.L. Central. Home games in boldface.
Cubs (13 games: three home, 10 road)
at Rays (2), at Brewers (4), at Cardinals (4), Reds (3)
This would seem to be the toughest of the three schedules, with just three home games remaining. The Cubs, however, have won four of six in Milwaukee this year and split six games at St. Louis, and there are likely to be large contingents of Cubs fans in both places.
Brewers (13 games: seven home, six road)
at Pirates (3), Cubs (4), Reds (3), at Cardinals (3)
The Brewers will play Monday while the Cubs and Cardinals are off; Milwaukee’s final off day of 2017 is next Monday, September 25. They get to begin their final two weeks by playing the reeling Pirates, who were just 2.5 games out of first place July 24, but who have gone 18-32 since then and have lost five in a row and 10 of their last 11. As noted above, the Cubs have played the Brewers well at Miller Park.
Cardinals (13 games: seven home, six road)
at Reds (3), at Pirates (3), Cubs (4), Brewers (3)
The Cardinals have a 35-40 road record and finish up their road season at Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. St. Louis has lost four of the six games played at PNC Park so far this year. They do get to wind up the year with seven games at home, but as noted above, the Cubs have won four of six played at Busch Stadium in 2017. The Brewers have done even better in St. Louis this year: five wins in six tries.
Ready for some down-to-the-wire pennant-race baseball? It starts tonight with the Brewers at the Pirates (I’ll post a game thread here at 5:30 p.m. CT for that 6:05 p.m. CT game), while the Cubs and Cardinals have today off.