Cubs battling more than Brewers during tiring stretch run

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They can blame the weather, an awful late-season schedule and myriad other non-baseball related factors, but if the Chicago Cubs want to return to the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year, they’ll have to rise above it all and hold off a hard-charging Milwaukee Brewers team.

“This is a battle for sure,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said Tuesday before the Cubs’ 3-0 win over the Brewers. “We have 19 games to right the ship. The biggest one is today.”nfl nike jersey cheap

Tuesday’s victory kept Milwaukee at bay — and in second place — with just 18 games remaining. The teams square off for the rubber game of their series — and the season finale between them — on Wednesday. The series has been filled with drama and close games, including Monday’s 3-2 Brewers win that drew them within a game in the standings. But Milwaukee can’t leave town in first place, as Cubs manager Joe Maddon is performing some of his mental tricks on his fatigued team.

If a makeup game against the Washington Nationals in Washington is a go on Thursday, the Cubs will have reported to the ballpark an unheard-of 30 straight days by the end of the streak. That’s taxing, so Maddon is preaching an easier-said-than done message, especially about Thursday.7

“Keep the switch on,” he said. “You have to think you’re going to play. … The trap there is to think you’re not going to play, then all of a sudden you are, then you have to turn the switch on. That normally creates a bad result.”

“The weather sounds good [for Thursday], but that is not my personal issue regarding all this,” Maddon added before Wednesday night’s game. “Even if it was 72 and balmy it would not matter. It’s about 30 consecutive days. That’s not being spoken about enough.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“For us, in the baseball world, playing 30 consecutive days, that’s the difficult part. I don’t think that’s been discussed enough. Everyone is making it into a weather-related issue. For me, it’s a 30-day issue. That’s my bigger concern.”

Hurricane Florence might keep the teams from playing once it makes landfall on the East Coast, and it might give the Cubs a much-needed day off. Team president Theo Epstein said as much on Monday but then stopped himself, knowing that rooting for a hurricane isn’t the right thing to do.