March to trade deadline continues in Cubs’ loss to lowly Diamondbacks

Andrew Chafin, a potential asset to be moved for prospects, gave up three runs in the decisive seventh inning.

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Andrew Chafin walks off the mound during the seventh inning of Saturday’s game.

AP Photos

Just another fun day for the Cubs as they march to the trade deadline.

Not only did they lose 7-3 to the lowly Diamondbacks on Saturday, but they had to wait through a 99-minute rain delay to make the final three outs in a bottom half of the ninth that lasted less than 11 minutes and was played in front of a few hundred fans. Tied at 2 in the seventh, usually reliable reliever Andrew Chafin allowed three runs to take the loss.

Also, catcher Willson Contreras was ejected in the inning by plate umpire Pat Hoberg for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout and needed to be restrained by manager -David Ross.

“He’s a passionate player. I love his passion,” Ross said. “I’ve got thrown out of games, too. That’s just part of the game when you’re upset.”

Chafin entered with a 24 1/3-inning scoreless streak — which had been the longest active run in baseball — and is likely on the radar of contending teams seeking an experienced lefty for the stretch run and beyond.

Saturday wasn’t his best day, though. Chafin walked Pavin Smith and Nick Ahmed before Daulton Varsho’s go-ahead single in the seventh inning. Pinch hitter Asdrubal Cabrera’s two-run double made it 5-2.

“It’s very uncharacteristic of him,” Ross said. “He’s been such a positive for us and a guy we’ve leaned on to be in for almost every win we’ve gotten. Definitely not the norm for him.”

If anything, the best news was that Kris Bryant’s hamstring seemed fine on his two hits, including a fifth-inning triple and a diving attempt on Eduardo Escobar’s first-inning double.

Ryan Tepera, who replaced Chafin, retired all three batters he faced, including two strikeouts.

Bryant, Chafin and Tepera could be on the move soon. That two of them had productive afternoons is what passes for positives these days for the Cubs.

Alec Mills also would qualify. He allowed two runs and three hits and struck out one in five innings. He also hit a double in the third inning and scored on Javy Baez’s bases-loaded double play on a day that had been sweltering before the rain arrived.

His last inning, though, was marred by Varsho’s two-run homer that tied the game at 2.

“Obviously, I started to run a little bit out of gas in the last inning there,” Mills said. “Left a changeup up to Varsho, a pretty bad changeup, but it happens. I just tried to do my best to keep us in the game, so we’ll take it.”

If the Cubs can recover and win Sunday, they’ll take the series from an Arizona team that is 38 games below .500. That won’t change the story around the Cubs, as familiar faces fans have gotten to know during a golden era could be gone within a week.

Ross was asked what he would say to fans who are worried about the trade deadline and what the team might look like after. He said, “We’re not concerned about that, and we can’t control those things.” He also said he’d advise fans to come to Wrigley Field to enjoy the atmosphere and players who participated in a lot of Cubs wins.

“I think there’s a lot of wait-and-see,” Ross said. “I don’t think any of that’s in our control. I don’t know what’s going to happen at the trade deadline, neither do you guys, neither do the fans. I would come out and support the team that they’ve loved probably most of their lives.”

That team could be one day closer to looking much different.

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