Chicago Cubs are headed for a nightmare scenario

Chicago Cubs (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs are in the thick of a playoff race at the moment, but they are headed for a potential nightmare scenario.

As a general rule, if you’re a team expecting to earn a playoff berth like the Chicago Cubs, you want to be playing your best baseball in September. Although there have been some exceptions, World Series champions were clicking on all cylinders in September and carried that momentum into October.

The Cubs, however, are limping towards the playoffs. They are in the midst of a stretch where they will have played 23 straight games without a day off. Recently, they endured a skid where they lost four of five games, including two of three to their NL Central rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers.

This stretch has also seen the Cubs’ suffer a power outage, during which they have had significant trouble putting runs on the board. To make matters worse, they lost their closer, Pedro Strop, for the remainder of the regular season. Strop, who was filling in for injured closer Brandon Morrow, pulled a hamstring trying to beat out a double play in extra innings of a makeup game against the Washington Nationals.

Their lead is currently at 3.5 games in the NL Central, and they still have a decent, though not insurmountable, 5.5 game lead in the Wild Card race, should they fail to take home the Central crown. And they could not be faltering at a worse time. Not only is it getting late in the season, but there are two remaining series that could spell disaster for this team.

On September 21, the Cubbies open up a three-game series against their crosstown rivals, the Chicago White Sox. After a four-game set at Wrigley with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the St. Louis Cardinals come into town to close out the season with a three-game series.

Although the White Sox have struggled mightily this season, and just lost their stud pitcher. Michael Kopech to Tommy John surgery, you can throw that all out the window. When deep-seeded rivals face off, you can throw records out the window. In fact, contributing to knocking the Cubs out of the playoffs would be the sweetest end to an otherwise disappointing season.

Next. Why Cubs fans should panic. dark

And there is no team more dangerous than one that has nothing to play for. So as the North Siders collective grip on their bats tightens, their rivals on the South Side will be carefree and loose. If the playoff race is still tight, the Cubs will no doubt feel the pressure to beat a team they should handle easily.

To compound the pressure, there is the potential that the Cubs could be looking forward to what could be an extremely critical series with the Cardinals starting on September 28th. The Cardinals are still very much alive for the second Wild Card spot and will be looking to spoil the Cubs’ season as well.

For a team struggling offensively, as well as suffering from a slew of injuries to their pitching staff, facing two hated rivals with so much on the line is less than ideal. Even less ideal is the prospect that these two teams could ultimately send this team to the first tee box sooner than they hoped.