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The Chicago Cubs entered Tuesday with a half-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central, and Cubs GM Jed Hoyer promised the best is yet to come. Well, sort of.
Basically, it’s been one key injury after another for the Cubs. They somehow survived May with a 18-8 mark. But because of the injuries and a particularly tough upcoming schedule, things are about to get a little more daunting.
“I think we’ll learn a lot about this team over the month of June because to go out there and have success [against that schedule], that’s certainly a mark for a team that has a chance to compete in the postseason,” Hoyer said, via Gorden Wittenmeyer of NBC Chicago TV-5, “because I think that’s the kind of environment you’re going to have to play in during the postseason.
“You’re going to have to go to the West Coast, given right now at least that those three teams in the NL West certainly have been the cream of the National League so far.”
But it’s not all unpleasant news. As Wittenmyer relayed, the Cubs are optimistic that some of their walking wounded will return soon. The list includes Anthony Rizzo (back), Jason Heyward (hamstring) and Jake Marisnick (hamstring). Cubs manager David Ross even indicated Rizzo could return from the IL as soon as Tuesday vs. the NL-leading San Diego Padres.
Either way, the Cubs are staying in true contention, and again finding out that life at the top ain’t easy. And June is sure to present its own set of obstacles.
“It’s a real challenge for any team,” Hoyer said. “It’s a real challenge for us.”