CHICAGO (AP) – Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant each had a light day of work as the Chicago Cubs prepared for the playoffs by playing much of their roster during a 3-1 loss to Deck McGuire and the Cincinnati Reds in the regular-season finale on Sunday.
Most of Chicago’s starting lineup was gone by the fifth inning. Rizzo flied out leading off the first, and then was replaced in the field by Taylor Davis. Bryant and shortstop Addison Russell were pulled after the NL Central champion Cubs batted in the fourth.
Chicago (92-70) is trying to become the first team to repeat as World Series champions since the New York Yankees won three in a row from 1998-2000. It will face Washington in the NL Division Series beginning on Friday.
“They’re a deep team. So are we, so it’ll be a fun series,” Rizzo said.
McGuire (1-1) pitched five sparkling innings for his first major league win in his second big league start. The right-hander also picked up his first RBI when he drove in Phillip Ervin with a grounder in the fifth.
Raisel Iglesias allowed Albert Almora Jr.’s one-out homer in the ninth before finishing for his 28th save in 30 chances.
Cincinnati finished last in the NL Central for the third straight season. It also went 68-94 last year.
Chicago, a runaway winner in the NL Central last season with a 103-58 record, has some decisions to make about its rotation against the Nationals, but appears to be in good shape heading into the playoffs. The Cubs closed the season with 15 wins in 19 games.
Mike Montgomery pitched three scoreless innings for Chicago before John Lackey (12-12) allowed Adam Duvall’s run-scoring double in the fourth in his first relief appearance since the 2013 World Series with Boston. The right-hander could work out of the bullpen in this year’s playoffs.
Scooter Gennett added an RBI single in the sixth for Cincinnati. Joey Votto doubled twice and led the majors by reaching base 321 times this year, breaking his own team record set in 2015.
Cincinnati center fielder Billy Hamilton went 0 for 4 with a walk and lost out to Miami’s Dee Gordon in the race for most steals in the majors. Hamilton had 59 coming into the day, one shy of Gordon’s league-leading total.
The Reds tried to get Hamilton another steal in the ninth, but Jesse Winker was thrown out at third on the front half of a double-steal attempt, ending the inning.
Joey Votto became the first Reds player since 1975 to start all 162 games.