By Megan Mawicke


CHICAGO (CBS) —  The Chicago Cubs have to take the series finale from the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday night to avoid falling three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals, who swoop into Wrigley Thursday.

CBS 2’s Megan Mawicke tells us how they’re taking Joe Maddon’s advice of not letting the playoff pressure exceed the pleasure.

The Cubs need Jon Lester to step up in a big way against the Reds. He’s been tagged for 12 runs in his last two starts. A solid start, though, would help to take the pressure off of his teammates.

The Cubs skipper wants them all to embrace this critical stretch run.

“If there’s pressure, or the word pressure, or whatever’s attached to it, my goodness, run towards it,” said Cubs manager Joe Maddon. “That’s the only way to do what we do. to be in this position at this time of the year with something on the line is what we all strive for.”

“These are the games that we look for,” added Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber. “Pressure picks up the last couple of weeks of September and rolling possibly into the off season there.”

Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant continued “games are more exciting. kind of a different position than we’ve been in before, but we’re fighting for a playoff chance. I mean, that’s a good thing.”

Maddon added that closer Craig Kimbrel, reliever Brandon Kintzler and Addison Russell all could be close to returning. That would be a much needed boost as the Cubs are fighting for their playoff lives.