The All-Star break came early Sunday for a Cubs team that has looked for more than two weeks like it needed any break it could get.
Rain postponed the Cubs-Cardinals series finale Sunday afternoon after the teams split the first two games Friday and Saturday — including a 6-0 loss Saturday that angered catcher Willson Contreras for what he called lack of effort.
The game has been rescheduled as part of a split doubleheader Friday, Sept. 24, when the teams open their final Wrigley Field series of the season.
The Cubs, who lost 19 of their final 25 games to plummet out of contention, open the second half with a three-game series in Arizona against the worst team in the majors, starting Friday.
Kyle Hendricks (11-4, 3.77) starts Friday for the Cubs, followed by Adbert Alzolay (4-9, 4.66) and Zach Davies (5-6, 4.37).
“I don’t think half a month’s indicative of who we are,” manager David Ross said of a first half that finished with a 2-13 skid that included an 11-game losing streak. “That’s a little frustrating. I think we’re better than the last two weeks that we finished up here.
“I know it played a little more into the narrative going into the season,” he said, referring to lowered expectations after payroll-cutting moves over the winter. “But I know these guys and what they’re capable of. I think we saw that. I still think we can make a run in the second half with the schedule the way it lines up, getting some guys back healthy.”
Case in point: Infielders Matt Duffy (back) and David Bote (shoulder) start minor league rehab assignments Monday and Friday, respectively.