The Chicago Cubs just have two more weeks left in the regular season and with no chance of having a sniff of the playoffs, the Cubs will get their chance to make some waves in the National League playoff race.
The final four regular season match-ups for the Cubs include the Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates and the hated St. Louis Cardinals. Now the Brewers may be bottom dwellers with the Cubs, but the Cubs still should be vying for a fourth place finish in the National League Central. As of Sunday, the Cubs stand three games behind the Brewers in the loss column, so the upcoming four games series will do a lot to put the Cubs onto a path to fourth in the division.
After the Brewers, the Cubs will start a tour of playoff contenders who will definitely be playing meaningful games against the Cubs. First up, the Atlanta Braves that are ten-games up on the Washington Nationals in the NL East, it seems very likely that the Braves will be looking to clinch a playoff spot in their visit to Wrigley Field. It seems obvious that Cubs players won’t want the Atlanta Braves to be celebrating a playoff clinching win at their home ballpark.
The same will go for the Pittsburgh Pirates, which may be undeniable by the time they arrive to Wrigley during the last week of the regular season and the same with the Cardinals. The young members of the Cubs can earn valuable experience going into next season by playing these playoff contenders going down the final two weeks of the season.
It may also be a valuable learning experience for players that the Cubs think are the building blocks of a future NL Central contender. Players like Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro can take some valuable lessons if one of the teams clinches while the Cubs are playing them. A taste of defeat can go a long way in creating a burning hunger in a player to never want to witness the joy of another team clinching a playoff spot against their team. Such sights could help push momentum, if any is possible, into the 2014 season.