Joe Maddon

Playoff-bound Cubs planning ahead

While a bunch of teams are fighting for playoff spots all over baseball, the Chicago Cubs are feeling their way through rare territory.

The Cubs clinched the NL Central title a full three weeks before their first playoff game, giving the organization plenty of time to rest players and analyze possible postseason opponents, but also making for a tricky stretch when it comes to staying sharp when there isn't as much at stake.

After the Cubs dropped three of four against the Brewers last weekend, manager Joe Maddon met with his hitters before Monday night's 5-2 victory over Cincinnati and talked to them about making the most of the final part of the season.