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Cubs Start Big Week Before All-Star Break Hosting the Cardinals

The Chicago Cubs enter their last week before the All-Star Game with what could be considered a make or break period for the team.

Chicago defeated Miami on Sunday 2-0 for their second straight win. The win was the third by a shutout in just the last week, but the Cubs scored only 5 runs over that same period.

The Major League Baseball season never lets up expect for six days during the All-Star break. However, Chicago has their hands full heading into the break. On Monday, the St. Louis Cardinals visit Wrigley Field for a four game series. On Tuesday, the teams will play a doubleheader. Following the visit by the Cardinals, the Cubs will host the Chicago White Sox for a tough cross-city rivalry then the All Star Break.

These next seven games could be very interesting for Chicago. If the Cubs could knock a few games off the 8 1/2 game deficit to St. Louis, things would brighten up even more over Lake Michigan.

The series with the White Sox does not mean much for the divisional race in the National League Central, but wins are what they need regardless of against what team.

Chicago sits at 44-36 with one more game before the exact halfway point for the team. They are second in the wildcard race behind just the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The last time St. Louis visited Wrigley Field the teams split a pair of games, but Chicago has been manhandled by St. Louis since.

If Chicago going into the second half is within striking distance then Theo Epstein the team president would be more apt to push for a top pitcher or a strong bat before the trade deadline.

If Chicago is just in the mode of taking a wildcard spot, then Epstein might be more content to make more conservative trades heading into the deadline.

Joe Maddon the Cubs manager was the same prior to and after the game on Sunday about not looking ahead to this week, but playing each game as it came.

Maddon said the game that means a great deal is Monday’s. On Tuesday, both games will mean a great deal, but the first one first.

He knows everyone is supposed to worry about winning the division and focusing on divisional opponents, but he is just concerned with winning period.

Chicago’s players, coaches and mostly the fans are just happy they are in this spot heading toward the break. Last year, Jason Hammel was traded at this time and now a playoff implication series is being played.

Whether Maddon or any other Cub admits it, this week will be huge for the direction the team takes when it comes out of the All-Star break late next week. Let’s hope for baseball that the Cubs enjoy the results of these next 7 games in the Windy City.

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