The Cardinals are making it so the Cubs can't just waltz their way to another championship. Not without going through St. Louis, that is.
The Cardinals find themselves in a familiar position atop the National League Central as the two teams revive their ancient rivalry in their second head-to-head series of the season, starting tonight at 8:15 ET at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
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Here's what else to watch for throughout the night (all times ET):
October preview?: HOU@NYY, 7:05 p.m.
This is a treat, as two of the youngest, most talented teams in the American League match up for a four-game set in the Bronx. The second game of the series will go down Friday, with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.40) opposing Yankees rookie lefty Jordan Montgomery (2-1, 3.81).
All eyes will be on Matt Harvey as he returns from his three-game, team-issued suspension to start in Milwaukee. Harvey already faced a tough road this season, two years removed from Tommy John surgery and a year out of surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. But he complicated his season even more when he failed to show up to the field Saturday, prompting the Mets to suspend him. Harvey is 2-2 with a 5.14 ERA in six starts this season.
The Mets decided the best thing for Harvey would be to give him a start on the road, away from the drama of New York. But in doing so, he'll go up against the Brewers, who have one of baseball's most high-powered lineups. Matt Garza (1-0, 2.55) pitches for Milwaukee.
Rivarly renewed: CHC@STL, 8:15 p.m.
The Cubs took two of three from St. Louis the first time they faced off this season, the first series of the season, also in St. Louis. But the Cardinals won nine games against the Cubs last season, more than any other team, and figure to battle them again after missing the playoffs in 2016.
One year ago, the Cubs were 26-8 at this point, securely in first place in the National League Central, while the Cardinals were 18-16 and 7 1/2 games back. It's a different story so far this season.
King Kershaw takes hill: LAD@COL, 8:40 p.m.
The Dodgers find themselves in an unfamiliar position heading into this weekend series: looking up at the Rockies in the standings. They'll deploy their all-world ace Friday in Clayton Kershaw, who is enjoying a usually elite year. But Kershaw has struggled in his career at Coors Field, and his lone shaky outing of this season came there, last month.
Kershaw (5-2, 2.40) allowed a season-high four earned runs in six innings in a loss in Colorado April 8, before beating the Rockies with seven splendid innings 11 days later in Los Angeles. Tyler Chatwood (3-4, 4.74) opposes for the Rockies.
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.