Though they would appear to be a long shot, the Chicago Cubs continue to set their sights on winning the NL Central.
Looking to remain undefeated against Lance Lynn this season, the Cubs can cut into the St. Louis Cardinals' division lead Friday at Wrigley Field.
Owner of an eight-game lead for the second wild-card spot, Chicago (85-61) is in good shape to reach the postseason for the first time since 2008. The Cubs also trimmed Pittsburgh's lead for the first wild-card position to two games by taking the last three of a four-game series at PNC Park.
More from FoxSports
However, optimistic Cubs manager Joe Maddon expects his team to stay focused on catching the Cardinals (92-54).
''The division title is still the goal,'' he said. ''That's what we're after.''
It doesn't matter that the Cubs are in third place and seven back of St. Louis. Maddon truly believes anything is possible for an overachieving club that's won 33 of its last 47
"We come ready to play," he told MLB's official website after Thursday's 9-6 victory at Pittsburgh. "A lot of good stuff going on out there with a lot of guys picking each other up.''
Chicago is 6-10 against the Cardinals this season, but began the recent 7-4 road trip by taking two of three at Busch Stadium.
"I'm really eager to see and feel our fans at home," said Maddon, whose team has won three straight and 17 of the last 21 at Wrigley Field. "I think it'll be a lot of fun."
The Cubs opened that series at St. Louis by tagging Lynn (11-10, 3.17 ERA) for six runs and seven hits in 2 1-3 innings of a 9-0 victory Sept. 7.
''Just didn't have any command,'' said Lynn, who is 0-3 with a 7.53 ERA against Chicago in 2015. ''The ball was all over the place, and when I started making pitches they were already locked in.''
Dexter Fowler, who led off that contest with a homer, is 5 for 12 against Lynn, who has a 9.72 ERA while dropping his last two outings. Batting .400 with two homers and eight RBIs in the last six games against St. Louis, Anthony Rizzo is 3 for 5 with two doubles and a home run off the right-hander this year.
Dan Haren (9-9, 3.87) recorded his only quality start of the eight he's made with the Cubs while opposing Lynn and allowing seven hits in seven innings earlier this month. The right-hander, however, yielded four runs, seven hits and walked three in three innings while not factoring in the decision of a 7-4 loss at Philadelphia on Sunday.
''Very frustrating," said Haren, who is 2-2 with a 5.31 ERA for Chicago.
Kolten Wong is 4 for 6 with two doubles against Haren, and is batting .455 during a 10-game hitting streak against Chicago. Jason Heyward and Yadier Molina are a combined 5 for 10 and each has a double off Haren this season.
St. Louis heads to Wrigley riding a four-game winning streak that followed a stretch of eight losses in 10 contests. Matt Carpenter and rookie Tommy Pham each had three hits for a second straight game as the Cardinals capped a three-game sweep of Milwaukee with Thursday's 6-3 victory.
''It's always nice to be playing good baseball,'' winning pitcher John Lackey said. ''This series was a great group effort.''
Matt Holliday is 9 for 20 in five games against the Cubs this season, and should see action this weekend after pinch-hitting Thursday in his first game since missing almost two months with a strained quad.