And away we go.
The Chicago Cubs (53-35) started the 2016 season in dominating fashion, jumping out to a 35-15 record. They went 18-20 the rest of the way going into the all-star break. Of course, a lot went wrong that led to that, not the least of which was the rash of injuries the Cubs endured and which we spoke about yesterday here.
The team is still in the catbird seat in the NL Central but St. Louis and Pittsburgh are lurking, ready to pounce at the first sign of weakness. Starting the second half against a team as good as the Texas Rangers (54-36) will definitely test the Cubs mettle. It’s a good way to open the final stretch of the season and one that, hopefully, should have the Cubs rising to the occasion.
Game times and broadcast info
- Friday, July 15 at 1:20 PM CDT on CSC, MLBN (out-of-market only)
- Saturday, July 16 at 1:20 PM CDT on ABC 7, MLBN (out-0f-market only)
- Sunday, July 17 at 1:20 PM CDT on TBS, ABC 7
What to watch for
- The Cubs are coming off a rough end to the first half of the season, where they lost 9 of their last 11 games. This series is going to set the tone for the second half and it’s important that the Cubs play well and win to get things going in the right direction.
- Texas is coming into the series with the best record in the American League. So it’s not too hard to conceptualize them going far into the playoffs. This could be the team that represents the AL in the World Series. Is this a World Series preview? It could be.
- The Cubs starting pitching has been awful lately. Over their past 14 games they have a 6.12 ERA and 5.96 FIP. That needs to get turned around if the Cubs are going to keep their lead in the National League Central. We’re hoping the rest has served them well and they are all ready to go for the final stretch of the season.