5th place in Central Division (12 games back)
The "second half" of the baseball season begins on Thursday, and the Chicago Cubs begin with 10 home games in 11 days.
To begin the second half, the Florida Marlins travel to Chicago for a four game series at Wrigley Field. Florida (43-48) is in last place in the National League East, but feature some of the better young players in the game. Mike Stanton, 21, leads the Marlins with 18 home runs and 51 runs batted in at the All-Star Break.
After the Marlins leave town, the Cubs will host the team with the best record in the majors, the Philadelphia Phillies (57-34). The Phillies have some of the best hitters in the National League, including Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, but they have been the best team in baseball so far because they have one of the best groups of starting pitchers of the last 30 years. Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels would each be an ace on most teams in baseball, but they're all on the same team.
The Cubs get a day off on Thursday, July 21, before hosting the Houston Astros. Houston (30-62) is the only team trailing the Cubs in the Central Division. Hunter Pence leads the Astros in almost every statistical category, including home runs (11) and runs batter in (60).
To purchase tickets to any of these games, visit Ticketmaster through Cubs.com.
After the Astros series, the Cubs go on the road for series against division rivals Milwaukee and St. Louis.
One other date for Cubs fans to keep on their calendar is July 31. That is when Major League Baseball's trade deadline happens, and there might be a few new faces in Cubs uniforms when they return to Wrigley Field in August.