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Cubs enter key stretch with NL wildcard spot on the line

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The Cubs start their three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates without third baseman Nick Madrigal as they try to hang on to a wildcard spot.

Madrigal is on the 10-day injury list with a hamstring strain. CBS 2's Jori Parys had the latest on the team hanging on for its dear playoff life with less than two weeks to go in the regular season.

The mentality in the clubhouse is that the Cubs are embracing the pressure of the final 12 games, utilizing what they've learned from the adversity they've faced throughout the season. That included the team's latest 1-5 road trip and leaning on the experience of guys who have been in the postseason.

"I think we have a really nice combination of veteran leadership that's won before, whether it's here or other places," said second baseman Nico Hoerner. "And young players that are also establishing themselves, and I think that blend creates a level of confidence, but also urgency that I think puts us in a really good spot with our depth."

Shortstop Dansby Swanson added, "Obviously, we went through a lot of adversity early on in the year and came out of it stronger. We expect nothing less for the last week, week-and-a-half. They haven't been necessarily our best, but we understand that we're in a great spot and thinking we would take this if we were to talking about this back in March, we'd be chomping at the bit for an opportunity like this, so here we are."

Manager David Ross said it will take one moment to help turn the Cubs' offense that's been struggling. Swanson is batting second behind Hoerner in the lineup against the Pirates.

Alexander Canaria is getting his first start designated hitting in the ninth spot.

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