Cubs Really NEED Wins in Houston To Keep Pace before Interleague Play

Francisco E. VelazquezCorrespondent IJune 9, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 04:  Manager Lou Piniella of the Chicago Cubs and Alfonso Soriano #12 look on during pregame introductions before taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Three of the NLDS during the 2008 MLB playoffs on October 4, 2008 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Cubs 3-1 to advance to the NLCS.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Only three-and-a-half games behind the Brewers at the moment, the Cubs need to pick up some quick wins before teams head into interleague play—a rough stretch in particular for the Cubs.

The Cubs will have to face all three of the top AL Central teams within the next two weeks, including a trip to the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers.

The Northsiders will begin a three-game series on Tuesday night at Houston with their most consistent pitcher on the mound. And the way things are shaping up for the next several weeks, Ted Lilly is the right pitcher at the right time to start the series in Tropicana Field.

Looking at the next few weeks for the Cardinals and Brewers, it looks like the Cubs just may have the tougher schedule. So, the Cubs need some wins this week so the GBs don’t get too out of hand.

After this three-game series, the Cubs start interleague play on Friday against the Minnesota Twins and Kevin Slowey, who is pitching very well with an 8-2 record. Then, the Cubs get a day off before hosting the crosstown rival White Sox for a three-game series starting Tuesday, June 16.

Though the White Sox are four games under .500, Southside Head Coach Ozzie Guillen always seems to have his team ready to battle the Cubs.  

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Meanwhile, the Reds (tied with the Cubs) and Cardinals both have series’ against Kansas City and Cleveland—the last two teams in the AL central—coming up.

The Cardinals have an opportune time to take hold of the NL Central. Though the Cardinals also have a series against Detroit, St. Louis has the comfort of hosting those games at Busch Stadium.

The NL Central-leading Brewers have to face Detroit in Motown, but get to play the Twins and White Sox in Milwaukee.

The tougher schedule comes with the territory of winning the NL Central last year. But aiming to win it this year, the Cubs can’t let those losses begin to pile up while the Brewers and Cardinals get too far ahead.

These next two weeks will tell a lot about the divisional race and where the teams will stand as we get further into the break.

The Cubs need wins. That, hopefully, begins tonight with Ted Lilly.

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