Phil Rogers joined MLB.com in 2013, and has covered Major League Baseball since 1984.
|Nothing personal. But the Cardinals should know that it doesn't matter that the Cubs clinched the National League Central title a week ago. There will be two teams trying their hardest to win games at Wrigley Field this weekend.
|As hard as this might be to believe, the Cubs have a secret weapon on their side as they head toward the postseason. It's John Lackey. Specifically, Lackey's slider.
More» Lackey fans Carter to retire side in 1st|
|Gary Sanchez may not know much about Willie McCovey. But between now and November, he's sure to learn a lot.
More» Sanchez smashes solo homer over the Monster|
|As good as baseball gets. That's how the Cubs have operated for more than 400 days now, with no end in sight. When they clinched the National League Central title on Thursday night after the Cardinals lost to the Giants, it was a pinch-me moment for the adoring fans who packed Wrigley Field, even if it was more anticlimactic than dramatic.
More»Cubs return to postseason by clinching NL Central|
|Really, Joe Maddon? You and the Cubs' information geeks really think it's smart to relegate Kyle Hendricks to the back of your postseason rotation?
More» Hendricks almost hurls no-no in great start|
|Has a Rookie of the Year Award winner ever hit eighth? Tyler Naquin does, but you can't judge his value to the first-place Indians by Terry Francona's lineup card. He hit .341 in April, began to mix in some power in June and has emerged as a key player down the stretch.
More» Naquin smacks an RBI single to center|
|Even in their state of regression, the Giants haven't lost a hold on a postseason spot. Here are five reasons that the Giants still pose a major threat to the Cubs, Nationals, Dodgers and the rest of the National League.
More» Bumgarner strikes out five over seven innings|
|So who you got for the National League MVP Award? Kris Bryant? Anthony Rizzo? Addison Russell isn't on the short list yet, but the way he's going, we could be talking about the Cubs shortstop in NL MVP Award conversations next September.
More» Russell sprints 106.8 feet for awesome catch|
|A fifth starter in April, Kyle Hendricks has methodically worked his way into the National League Cy Young Award discussion. He's there because of something he's doing that might be even more impressive -- leading the Major Leagues in ERA.
More» Hendricks picks up eight K's over six innings|
|As under the radar as the Mariners have been for most of this season, nobody has three regulars as consistently productive as Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager. They're leading the way for a team that needs to be taken seriously as a contender.
More» Cano crushes a solo home run to right-center|
|Jason Heyward's first season with the Cubs has been a challenge, as his batting average shows. But don't label it a disappointment before it's over.
More» Heyward's two-run homer pads the Cubs' lead|
|With six weeks left in the season, Los Angeles is one game ahead of San Francisco in the division. The clubs will meet nine times, beginning with a three-game series at Dodger Stadium from Tuesday-Thursday.
More» Gonzalez launches his third homer of game|
|The great National League MVP Award debate of 2016 is coming, if it is not already raging at your office, on your radio or in your favorite tavern.
More» Bryant goes 5-for-5 with two homers|
|Eddy Alvarez was on the medal podium the last time the world's best gathered under the Olympic flame. He was a part of the United States' short-track speed-skating relay team, which captured a silver medal in the 2014 Sochi Games.
|According to the National League Central standings, the Cardinals are 12 games behind the Cubs. Yet you can't help but wonder: Do they have the league right where they want it? There are teams you can write off when they're beat up and things aren't going well. Then there are the Cardinals.
More» Piscotty crushes three-run homer for a lead|
|Like many Cubs fans, actor John Cusack breaks into a sweat every time he hears Javier Baez's name in a trade rumor. He's had more practice than he'd like with this routine the last few years but it is only making it sweeter to watch Baez blossom into a special player.
More» Baez pads lead with two-run homer to left|
|Look beyond the most obvious choices for the National League Manager of the Year Award and you'll find another set of deserving candidates. These skippers are all in their first full season with either their team or their current set of responsibilities.
More» Mattingly praises Koehler, updates on Stanton|
|Matt Matheny will hand the ball to rookie Luke Weaver for his Major League debut in a Saturday afternoon showcase, hoping that Weaver and fellow rookie Alex Reyes can help the Cardinals survive what looks like a six-team fight for the two Wild Card spots.
More» Reyes hits 101 mph in perfect MLB debut|
|Facing a fifth starter is a good thing, right? Maybe not when you're going against the Cubs.
More» Hammel goes six frames in scoreless start|
|Clayton Kershaw won his third National League Cy Young Award two years ago, in unanimous fashion. He was rolling toward another no-brainer selection until his back shut him down.
More»Rogers talks about the candidates for the NL Cy Young|