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Cubs' Joe Maddon won't change a thing in regular season's last week

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have clinched a playoff spot and their chances of catching the Pittsburgh Pirates to host the one-game wild-card playoff in the National League appear remote at best.

Still, manager Joe Maddon doesn’t intend to take his foot off the gas in the final week of the regular season.

“We’re still trying to win as many games as we possibly can,” he said Sunday before the finale of the series with the Pirates at Wrigley Field. “We still have a chance to have the game played here. I was always bad at math.”

Maddon, though, does concede he will look ahead and think big-picture in some instances.

“You talk about resting someone, but the only guy that needs to be rested is [first baseman Anthony Rizzo],” he said. “Maybe [Kris Bryant] a little bit, but you don’t want to take them out of their rhythm.

“Everybody else has played on and off for a while, so there’s nobody out there that’s really fatigued.”

Rizzo has played in 154 of the Cubs’ 155 games, including Sunday's, and Maddon has talked about getting him more rest since the All-Star break in July. But don’t be surprised if Rizzo plays in each of the final seven games through the end of the schedule next Sunday because there will be two days off before the National League wild-card game on Wednesday.

“The way I look at it is he’s gonna get Monday and Tuesday off,” Maddon said of Rizzo. “I’m looking at that. Before you get to the game -- our little Super Bowl we have going on -- he’s gonna have plenty of rest. I don’t want to take him out of a rhythm of sorts.

“I’ll maybe get him out of a game sooner as we get closer to the end, but I’ll talk to him about it. The two-day buffer does help.”

The major variance from his usual mode of operation will be with the front-line relievers.

“Bullpen-wise, you want to be cognizant of throwing someone too much,” he said. “But then again, you want to keep them sharp because they’re used to throwing often.”

Even though Maddon joked about the wild-card game being their version of the Super Bowl, he said he won’t approach it like a Super Bowl -- with massive buildup and preparation for the Pirates.

“We’re not gonna do any more prep; we’re not gonna do any more video study,” he said. "We’ve played 'em 19 times this year. My God, if you don’t know them by now, you’re not going to figure it out in one miracle evening.”