MILWAUKEE – The Cubs had All-Star leadoff man Dexter Fowler on the bench for a scheduled rest day, and MVP candidates Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo combined for an 0-for-9 Monday with two strikeouts.
And still they managed to score seven runs Monday, albeit much of the damage against the Brewers’ middling bullpen, to win for the 30th time in 38 games – and improve to a season-highi 41 games over .500.
“What’s cool is how there’s so much depth up and down the roster that any given day anyone can have an impact,” said Chris Coghlan, who came off the bench to single home the go-ahead run in the seventh, then stayed in the game and added a two-run single in the eighth.
“I was grateful for the opportunity and to come through for the boys.”
That roster depth could create a numbers issue when playoff rosters are set and lefty bench bats such as Coghlan, Tommy La Stella (1-for-3 with a walk from the leadoff spot) and maybe even catcher Miguel Montero on a bubble.
Montero, who’s 7-for-16 over the past two weeks with the two-out double that led to that go-ahead run Monday, is starting to heat up after a season-long slump and sporadic playing time.
Maddon said he expects matchups to play a large role in how the roster is set for the playoffs.
“It can vary from round to round,” Maddon said.
On tap for Tuesday
The Cubs plan to activate setup ace Hector Rondon from the disabled list on Tuesday, the same day they conclude their September callups with the minor-league season ended.
Rondon, who has been on the DL the last three weeks because of a sore triceps, threw a simulated game Saturday without issue.
With the expanded roster at 29 through Monday, the Cubs are expected to add on Tuesday: right-hander Spencer Patton, outfielder Albert Almora and infielder Munenori Kawasaki.
Batting Title Town in Tennessee
For the second consecutive year, a Cubs prospect has won the Class AA Southern League batting title, this time with versatile Tennessee infielder Chesney Young going 1-for-2 in Monday’s season finale, to finish at .303 (with a .376 on-base percentage).
Earlier in the season team president Theo Epstein described the 2014 14th-round draft pick from Mercer University as “a magician with a bat in his hand,” whose next step is developing more gap power.
Young, 23, had 25 doubles and four homers in 126 games.
Cubs rookie Willson Contreras won the Southern League batting title last year.
Notes: Maddon said the club has plotted as many as five or six chances for setup man Pedro Strop to pitch before the playoffs start, barring another setback. Strop, who has been on the DL since Aug. 11 because of a knee injury, suffered a groin injury last week during rehab work. …Maddon made no secret over the weekend of his disdain for day games, in particular the especially early games, such as Monday’s 12:10 p.m. games. Then he saw the Mets went from a night game in New York Sunday to a 1:10 start in Cincinnati Monday. “Once I saw that, I stopped complaining,” Maddon said.