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Importance of series with Albert and the gang cannot be overstated

by: Mauricio Rubio Jr.

The Cardinals are entering an away series with a struggling Cubs team 3.5 games up and looking to deliver an early KO. Albert Pujols and his seemingly partner for life Tony LaRussa smell blodd in the water, and now they would love nothing more than to completely take Chicago out of the race with a four game sweep, pushing the Cubs back 7.5 games.

The pressure to at the very least maintain the status quo with a split is on. Cub nation would love nothing more than a sweep of their own, but with a sputtering offense still trying to find its identity, that seems highly unlikely. The Cubs rely on strong starting pitching, an ok bullpen, and the HR ball to win games. While this would be a nice strategy if they were an AL team in 1989, they aren't and its 2009.

Lou needs to outmanage LaRussa, plain and simple. The Cubs have done less with more than any team this year, and it comes down to under performance and the manager. Lou expected to ride this team to another division crown, but the Cards are refusing to comply, and now Piniella is faced with the most important challenge of the season.

A sweep by the Cubs would not win the division, but losing 3 games can lose it for the Cubs. We've all been waiting for that surge by a Cubs team that most want to believe is under the surface of mediocrity, bad situational hitting, and wild bullpen arms.

This is an important series, and the Cubs will have to treat it as such. The Cards are not going away, and any team that employs Albert Pujols always has a chance to not only compete, but win.

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