SAN DIEGO — The past week has looked a lot like the final week of last season for the Cubs.
Now they have 17 games to determine whether it becomes their final gasp.
“It’s not fun,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said after the Cubs got just three hits against rookie Chris Paddack and the Padres bullpen in a 4-0 loss Wednesday night — their fifth in six games during this two-city trip.
The Brewers, meanwhile, are 6-0 during that same stretch — making up five games in six days to catch the Cubs in the standings and tie for the National League’s second wild-card position.
Last year, the Brewers won their final eight games of the season to make up 2 1⁄2 games on the Cubs to tie for the division title — before beating the Cubs the next day in the tiebreaker.
“It’s not the place we want to be,” said Cubs starter Cole Hamels, who looked better than in recent starts but still failed to pitch out of the fifth inning — needing 91 pitches to get that far. “We’ve battled all year and as it closes, and gets closer and closer, you don’t want to have to put the pressure on yourself or each other for the answers. We still have to play our game, do our part and obviously battle. It’s 162 games for a reason. It’s not going to be easy. … But it’s still attainable.
“Everybody gets to start back over once you’re there. You just have to get there.”
On Wednesday, it was Manuel Margot coming up big for the second night in a row. His three-hit game included a go-ahead homer leading off the fifth and a single leading off a two-run seventh — one night after walking with the bases loaded in the 10th off Steve Cishek to beat the Cubs.
The Cubs, who were shut out for the seventh time this season and fell to 30-44 on the road, have one more game in San Diego Thursday before heading home for their final, 10-game homestand.
They finish the season with a two-city trip to Pittsburgh and St. Louis.
“These next two-plus weeks we just need to win — I don’t care how it’s done,” said Rizzo, who might have summed up the Cubs’ night Wednesday when he tripled leading off the second and was stranded.
“I don’t care if it’s pretty or ugly. We just have to win,” he said. “That’s all we can do. If we don’t win games we’re going to be going barbecuing too early. We believe in each other. We’re here for one another. But we’ve got to win.”