CHICAGO — It’s a good question for Cubs fans to ask themselves as they get ready to end the month of August and start September.
Is this the biggest week for the team in nearly four years?
That may very well be the case for the Cubs over the next three days at Wrigley Field and then over the course of four games against another National League Central division rival.
That’s because David Ross’ club is hosting the NL Central-leading Brewers at the Friendly Confines for three games, starting Monday at 7:05 p.m. The Cubs do so trailing Milwaukee by four games in the division, and then the next series could have a big impact on another playoff race they’re in the thick of late this season.
They’ll head to Cincinnati to face the Reds for four games starting on Friday at Great American Ballpark, with a doubleheader scheduled for Friday. At the moment, the Cubs hold onto the second Wild Card spot in the National League, a half-game ahead of the Diamondbacks in third but just a 1 1/2 games ahead of the Reds and Giants.
These next seven games could help solidify the team’s place in the playoff picture in 2023 or leave them with a lot of work to do as they approach the stretch run of the season.
It’s easy to say that this is the most critical week for the Cubs since September 2019, when they finished a ten-game homestand against NL Central foes Cincinnati (3 games) & St. Louis (4 games). Two behind the Cardinals in the division race and still chasing the Brewers for the Wild Card to start, the Cubs would go 1-6, essentially eliminating them from playoff contention.
The Cubs made the playoffs in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season but were firmly in the playoff race for most of that year. In 2021 & 2022, the team was out of contention before August began.
At the moment, the Cubs are looking to close out an outstanding August in which they’ve gone 16-8 to put themselves in the hunt for a playoff spot. That included taking 2-of-3 from the Pirates in Pittsburgh to complete a 4-2 road trip.