St. Louis Cardinals: Will the Cubs be off their A-game?

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 21: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates his home run against the Chicago Cubs during the eighth inning of a game at Wrigley Field on September 21, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 21: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates his home run against the Chicago Cubs during the eighth inning of a game at Wrigley Field on September 21, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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With the St. Louis Cardinals playing the Cubs one last time this weekend, their manager suggested they may not play their regulars. What would that mean?

The St. Louis Cardinals are in the endgame now. There is no way around it, no easy way to back into the postseason; if they don’t get through the Cubs this weekend, they could find themselves in a game 163 or worse, a Wild Card game.

With the Brewers breathing down their necks, the Chicago Cubs are coming to town a week after the Cardinals swept them at Wrigley. Conservatively, the Cardinals will have to win two of three this weekend to keep their 1.0 game lead and may have to win all three.

As the Cardinals play the Cubs the Brewers are clashing with the Colorado Rockies in Colorado.  That sounds like a carnival for a Brewers that seems to have forgotten how to lose lately and have won seven straight.

But will the Cubs be bringing their A-game?

Already, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant have been out hurt, and while Baez returned for one at-bat last weekend, he clearly wasn’t ready to return. Despite the “legendary” return of Anthony Rizzo after his ankle injury this last week, he is out again. Who would’ve thought that playing on an injured ankle would make it worse?

Even if Rizzo was healthy, it sounds like Cubs manager, Joe Maddon, wouldn’t plan on playing him.

Part of the manager’s job is protecting his players and now that the Cubs have lost nine straight games and are out of any postseason hopes, Joe Maddon is not going to risk injury to his starters.

"“We’ll put a good team out there, regardless. Now, of course, (the Brewers are) going to bitch. Of course they are. I get it. Quite frankly, there are certain things I don’t give a (expletive) about.”“That would be one of them.”"

This quote is from this article from the Chicago Tribune and while in general, I’m not a huge Maddon fan, this definitely made me respect him. He is putting his players first and won’t compromise that because of what another team may want.

The Chicago Tribune article suggested Nicholas Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber might still play but as a team, the Cubs won’t be at full strength.

This is great news for St. Louis Cardinals fans but the important thing is that the team doesn’t play down to the level of their competition or take their foot off the gas. That may have been part of what happened in Arizona but in this series, that would be a death spell for the team’s division hopes.

The Cubs may not be playing all their top players, but the revenge factor should not be ignored after the Cardinals put nails in their coffins last weekend. This is baseball, no team should be underestimated.

Next. Does Tommy Edman reset the future at third base?. dark

We’ve covered the scenarios that can happen this weekend in about every way possible and the only thing left is for the first pitches to be thrown. If the Cardinals don’t win the division, there is still the Wild Card game, but it should rightly be avoided and would be a clear disappointment after the Cardinals place in the standings for the past two weeks.

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