CHICAGO -- The closest the Cubs will get to a pennant race is playing a series of contenders in the season's final six weeks.
But manager Rick Renteria hopes that gives his young team a taste of what the Cubs hope to achieve in coming seasons.
"They're going out every day trying to prove to the other team they belong here with them," Renteria said prior to Tuesday's rain-shortened win over the Giants that opened a three-game Wrigley Field series. The game was finally called after 4 1/2 innings and a 4-hour, 34-minute delay.
"We certainly have to minimize any kind of mistakes we make -- we're playing contending teams -- (and) there's a reason why they're contending. They have a combination of skill and playing the game a certain way."
The Cubs play the final 38 games against teams jockeying for postseason spots, starting with the Giants followed by a late week series with the Orioles, now comfortably atop the American League East.
"Is this a good place for us to be in right now? Damn right," Renteria said. "We need to embrace this and we need to play the game and show everybody we're moving forward and growing and we're hoping to come out on the winning side. It's something we can use to measure ourselves with."
On one level, the Cubs have already shown measured improvement at least this month. They are 10-8, already more wins than they had in all of August 2013, when they were 8-20.
STREAK: Won three
NEXT: Giants (RHP Jake Peavy, 1-3, 3.86 ERA) at Cubs (Edwin Jackson, 6-13, 5.74 ERA)
--LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (3-1) worked five shutout innings in a rain-shortened 2-0 victory and allowed six hits and no walks while striking out three in his third straight victory. Cubs manager Rick Renteria said Wada could be a factor in 2015. "No doubt," Renteria said. "I think he's coming in and done a real nice job. This is the first time I've seen him and obviously the organization signed him for a reason originally. The way he's performed is the one thing they were hoping to get."
--SS Starlin Castro is one homer away from a career-high 14. He hit his 13th on Sunday against the Mets, a game-winning solo shot.
--1B Anthony Rizzo went 2-for-3 with two RBIs as he homered for the second straight game, sending a first-inning shot -- his 29th -- out of the park and on to Sheffield Ave. It's the seventh time this season he's homered in consecutive games. Rizzo's 239 total bases are second in the National League.
--RHP Neil Ramirez offers plenty of options for the Cubs as a potential starter or remaining in the bullpen. Ramirez, 24, is 1-1 with a 1.17 ERA and 10 games finished with three saves in 36 games. The 25-year-old rookie made 127 starts in six minor league seasons but none yet in his first big league season. "Let me put it this way," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "It's a great problem to have. If we have to have that conversation, it's a good thing."
--RHP Edwin Jackson (6-13, 5.74 ERA) makes his 26th start of the season and 14th at home on Wednesday. He's 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA with a 4.50 ERA and 48 strikeouts in eight career starts against the Giants. Jackson suffered his team-leading 13th loss of the season on Aug. 14 against the Brewers. He allowed five runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking four in 4 2/3 innings of work.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "We did everything we could, we waited a long time. There was a lot of moisture in there, and the one thing everybody has to be cognizant of is that you don't want any of those guys to get hurt, period." -- Manager Rick Renteria, after Tuesday's game, a 2-0 victory by the Cubs, was finally called after 4 1/2 innings and a 4-hour, 34-minute delay.
--LHP Felix Doubront (left calf strain) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 1. He made his first rehab start for Triple-A Iowa on Aug. 12.
--RHP Brian Schlitter (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 9.
--RHP Neil Ramirez (sore right triceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 26. He began a rehab assignment in the rookie-level Arizona League on Aug. 6.
--RHP James McDonald (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 60-day disabled list March 30. There is no timetable for his return.
RHP Jake Arrieta
RHP Edwin Jackson
LHP Travis Wood
RHP Kyle Hendricks
LHP Tsuyoshi Wada
RHP Hector Rondon (closer)
LHP Wesley Wright
RHP Justin Grimm
RHP Carlos Villanueva
RHP Pedro Strop
RHP Kyuji Fujikawa
RHP Jacob Turner
RHP Neil Ramirez
1B Anthony Rizzo
2B Javier Baez
SS Starlin Castro
3B Luis Valbuena
INF Chris Valaika
LF Chris Coghlan
CF Arismendy Alcantara
RF Ryan Sweeney
OF Justin Ruggiano
OF Matt Szczur
- Sports & Recreation
- Rick Renteria
- Edwin Jackson
- Tsuyoshi Wada
- Anthony Rizzo