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The Chicago Cubs have already clinched a spot in the National Leag

#1 von panxing18 , 14.03.2019 02:50

CHICAGO — ue playoffs.But as they begin their final regular-season series against the rival St. Louis Cardinals on Friday at Wrigley Field Cal Ripken Jersey , the Cubs realize they need to be in the right mentality as they push for their third straight NL Central title.After a 3-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday, the Cubs lowered their magic number to three to clinch the division title. More important, the win increased their lead over the idle second-place Milwaukee Brewers to one game in the Central.Article continues below ...While the Cubs’ postseason berth has already been secured, they are hoping to hold off the surging Brewers for the title. That will make the next three games against the Cardinals critically important.“I think these are all playoff games to get us ready for October,” Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. told reporters Thursday, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Cubs will continue to play without shortstop Addison Russell. Major League Baseball extended his administrative leave through Sunday as Russell remains under investigation for alleged domestic violence against his ex-wife.The Cubs have also been hampered with injuries, which makes finding a way to stick together for the next three days even more important. “(It’s) all hands on deck,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo told reporters, according to the Tribune. “We got to figure out how to win.”Kyle Hendricks (13-11, 3.49 ERA) will start for the Cubs on Friday and will be in search of his third straight victory.Hendricks has allowed just one earned run in three of his four starts in September and has at least worked into the seventh inning in each of his past two starts. He is 4-2 with a 3.49 ERA in 13 career stats against St. Louis.While the Cubs have plenty at stake, the Cardinals still have plenty of incentive. After being swept by the Brewers punctuated by a tough-to-swallow 2-1 loss on Wednesday, St. Louis could still find their way into the wild-card picture if they can find a way to get back on track in Chicago.But knowing the Cubs will be looking to still capture the division title, the Cardinals know what they’re up against.“In my mind, we have to win all three games — that’s all there is to it ,” Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright told reporters on Wednesday, according to the team’s official website.“We had ourselves in a good spot and we just got beat three games by a good team over there and we did not make the pitches we needed to, make the plays we needed to, didn’t hit the way we needed to and that’s a good way to lose a baseball game, lose a series and get swept against a good team. You’ve got to capitalize and we had our chances certainly.”Wainwright will look to snap the Cardinals’ three-game skid when he takes the mound in Friday’s series opener. Wainwright (2-3, 4.08) has allowed four earned runs in two of his three September starts and will attempt to get St. Louis started in the right direction against Chicago, against whom he has a 15-9 career record in 44 outings (35 starts) with a 3.94 ERA. TORONTO (AP) — An awful August for Baltimore’s Dylan Bundy keeps getting worse.Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales hit back-to-back home runs off the right-hander, Aledmys Diaz and Billy McKinney also connected, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Baltimore 8-2 on Tuesday night, improving to 9-0 at home against the struggling Orioles.Bundy (7-12) allowed seven runs and 10 hits in four-plus innings, the third straight start he has surrendered seven earned runs.“This is probably as tough a stretch as he’s had,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It seems like every mistake he makes he’s paying a price for.”Bundy is 0-3 with a 9.28 ERA in four starts this month.“It’s tough, but we’re all going to have these stretches,” Bundy said. “You just try to limit them. Right now Jim Palmer Jersey , this one is going on for quite some time.”Bundy has been hit hard in consecutive starts against the Blue Jays, allowing 12 earned runs in nine innings of work.“You feel for Dylan,” catcher Caleb Joseph said. “He’s been extremely consistent for us for a number of years now. You want to do anything you can to help him get out of it because you know it’s in there and it’s not like he’s lost it.”Smoak and Morales chased Bundy with solo blasts two pitches apart in the fifth. Smoak’s homer was his team-high 19th.Morales, who homered twice in Monday’s 5-3 win, has hit four home runs in his past three games, giving him 17 on the season.One out later, McKinney took Ryan Meisinger deep for his first career homer, giving the Blue Jays their first three-homer inning since Aug. 23, 2017 against Tampa Bay. In that game, Ryan Goins, Raffy Lopez and Steve Pearce each homered off right-hander Austin Pruitt.Morales finished 3 for 4 with two RBIs while McKinney went 2 for 3 with three RBIs.Every Blue Jays starter had at least one hit except for second baseman Devon Travis, who went 0 for 4 and reached on an error in the first.Diaz broke a 1-1 tie with a one-out blast off Bundy in the second. Bundy has allowed a major league-worst 33 home runs this season. No Orioles pitcher has allowed more since Jeremy Guthrie matched a club-worst by giving up 35 in 2009.“He really hasn’t had a feel for a changeup in three or four outings,” Showalter said of Bundy. “That’s really made it tough for him, because he’s usually got a really good one.”Blue Jays right-hander Sam Gaviglio (3-6) pitched seven innings to snap a 15-start winless streak , earning his first victory since May 25 at Philadelphia. Gaviglio allowed two runs and six hits.“I just wanted to come out and emphasize keeping the ball down,” Gaviglio said.Cedric Mullins hit a solo home run for the Orioles, who have lost three straight and 10 of 12. Baltimore is 1-11 against Toronto this season.Baltimore’s Chris Davis went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts. Davis has struck out 33 times in his past 66 at-bats.AIR APPARENTMcKinney mimed high fives along the length of the dugout after getting the silent treatment from teammates following his homer. The Blue Jays soon surrounded McKinney and showed him some love with back slaps and sunflower seeds.HURT BY HOMERS, PART 1Bundy has allowed three or more home runs in a game eight times in his career, including six times this season.HURT BY HOMERS, PART 2Baltimore has allowed four or more home runs in a game seven times this season, tied for second most among AL teams. Texas leads with nine.TRAINER’S ROOMOrioles: RHP Hunter Harvey has been shut down because of a sore elbow. The oft-injured Harvey, the son of former big league pitcher Bryan Harvey, missed the 2015 season with an arm injury and had Tommy John surgery in July 2016. He went on the minor league disabled list June 8 and has not appeared in a game since. … Baltimore activated INF Steve Wilkerson (strained left oblique) off the 10-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk.UP NEXTOrioles RHP David Hess (2-7, 5.95) starts against Blue Jays LHP Thomas Pannone (0-0, 6.00) in Wednesday afternoon’s series finale. Hess has lost six straight decisions since a May 25 victory at Tampa Bay. Pannone is making his first career start following four relief appearances.

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