(CBS) The Cubs are in prime position for the stretch run of the regular season, holding a five-game lead over the Brewers and Cardinals entering play Friday. Their magic number is now 18 games for the NL Central crown.
It’s something the Cubs know well as they head into the remaining weeks of the season with seven games against both the Brewers and Cardinals on the schedule. On Friday night, Chicago opens a three-game series with Milwaukee at Wrigley Field.
With an important opportunity ahead, third baseman Kris Bryant believes his team is ready to pounce. He discussed that Friday afternoon in his regular appearance with the Bernstein & Goff Show.
“We have a pretty good opportunity here to kind of separate ourselves,” Bryant said. “But at the same time, don’t put too much pressure on ourselves. There’s no need for it. Just go out there and play our game.
“At the end of the day, we know what type of team we have. We know what we’re capable of. So if we just go out there and play, I think things will happen.”
The Cubs return to Wrigley Field after winning the final two of a four-game set against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. They stand at 77-63, while the Brewers and Cardinals are 72-68.
Bryant has been a part of collective struggles during each of his first three seasons with the Cubs, who have a steady approach to the day-to-day grind that has benefited them through good times and bad.
“Just around the sport in general, everyone talks about staying in the moment,” Bryant said. “It’s true, you really have to. Especially given our schedule and how demanding it is and how tough the game is, you get 162 games and there’s plenty of time throughout the year where you want to rip your hair out, this game is so frustrating.
“But I think it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself. Just go out and play the game you’ve played your whole life and realize it is the hardest game in the world. Not everything’s going to go right for you all the time. But to have the right attitude and the right effort, those are really the only two things you can control in this game.
“If you go out there like that and think that way, at the end of the year you’ll end up where you want to me.”