Maddon focusing on proper rest before playoffs
A 100-win regular season and home-field advantage through the National League playoffs are the ‘‘mini-goals’’ ahead for the Cubs.
But manager Joe Maddon is more focused on getting rest for his pitchers and regulars and enough at-bats for the bench to keep the reserves involved.
‘‘I’ll start talking to guys in advance [about days off], not use guys two days in a row and make sure guys on the bench get at-bats,’’ Maddon said.
The rotation will get extended again to allow an extra day of rest for the starters, incorporating the scheduled day off Thursday as well as a sixth starter for the series in Pittsburgh next week.
Maintaining the best record in the NL to secure home-field advantage ‘‘absolutely’’ is a goal, Maddon said, with 100 victories ‘‘a nice number.’’
But achieving both still means focusing simply on ‘‘today’s game,’’ he added.
‘‘What we do [through the season in preparation] is so extensive, I don’t want us to do anything more,’’ Maddon said.
That includes prematurely trying to prepare for whichever team might win the wild card and likely become the Cubs’ first playoff opponent.
Brew Crew brewing
The Cubs finished the season 11-8 against the Brewers, but the Brew Crew was 5-2 against the Cubs in September.
Maddon said the Brewers are an improving young team, and their 11-6 mark in September might be an indicator.
Anthony Rizzo went 1-for-4 (double, walk) and missed a home run Sunday on a drive to the wall in right in the seventh inning. Kris Bryant extended his hitting streak to seven games with a third-inning single.
Jason Heyward went 2-for-4 for his third consecutive multihit game. Javy Baez has scored six runs in his last six games.
Jorge Soler remains day-to-day after an MRI exam came back OK. Soler left Friday’s game with tightness in his right side.
He will continue getting treatments and take batting-practice swings as he progresses, Maddon said.
The Cubs’ hierarchy hasn’t started discussions about the playoff roster, but Maddon said play over the last two weeks of the season could affect some decisions.
So could the opponent, he added.
When it comes to the wild-card contenders, the Cubs have a losing record against the Mets (2-5, with both victories at Wrigley Field), a winning record against the Giants (4-3, 3-1 at Wrigley) and a .500 record against the Cardinals (8-8) with three more home games against them this weekend.
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