Joe Maddon has been trying to find a chance to give Kris Bryant a day off.
But how do you sit the hottest hitter on the planet?
Bryant just finished a torrid road trip in which he staked his claim to the National League MVP Award by hitting .417 with a 1.365 OPS, five homers, 11 RBIs and 11 runs in nine games.
That pushed his season line to .305/.398/.588 (.986 OPS) with a league-leading 35 homers and 107 runs plus 89 RBIs.
So is he the Most Valuable Player in just his second season in "The Show"?
"I don't want to get too wrapped up in individual awards," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. "He's an outstanding player having a great year. It's never too early.
"(Red Sox second baseman) Dustin Pedroia is another guy we drafted over a decade ago and he did the same thing — Rookie of the Year in the first year and then MVP the next year. It can be done.
"(Bryant is) helping us win in so many different ways. Obviously coming up big of late, which is great to see. He deserves all the accolades that are coming his way and that may eventually come his way.
"But I think he'd probably be the first one to tell you he wants the team awards; he wants the team recognition in the end. The only one that really counts is winning your last game and the parade. Everything else is nice to fill the trophy case, but that's what everyone here is all about."
Bryant will undoubtedly split some MVP votes with teammate Anthony Rizzo (.946 OPS, 25 home runs, 89 RBIs), but the Cubs third baseman/outfielder woke up Monday morning leading all of baseball in WAR on FanGraphs' page.
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Even the Cubs admit Bryant has progressed beyond their realistic expectations.
"I would never have held him to this standard," Epstein said. "I wouldn't say, 'This is his development path. He's gotta go be maybe the Most Valuable Player in the league in the second year.' But at the same time, it doesn't surprise me.
"He's always been outstanding at making adjustments. Very cerebral player. Makes great use of his down time, whether it's the winter where he can work on swing adjustments or even the time between at-bats or pitch-to-pitch. He's just really, really good at making adjustments and thinks about his own game at a really high level.
"He's such a good athlete, he's able to take it right out on the field."
Bryant has also surprised Epstein and the Cubs with how he's evolved as a player.
"In some ways, surprising," Epstein said. "I thought he would always hit five to 10 opposite field home runs a year at a minimum, and he hasn't this year — that was his first one of the year the other day at Dodger Stadium.
"But he's added the ability to turn on the inside pitch and hit it in the air and keep it fair, so he's hitting more home runs as a result. So I never saw that coming.
"It's interesting the way his swing and his game have evolved."
In discussing the difference between 2016 Bryant and the rookie model, Maddon pointed to a decrease in strikeouts (from 30.6 percent in 2015 to 22 percent) and a smoother product on defense.
"The biggest for me is consistently shorter swing. More contact," Maddon said. "He's had smaller windows of chasing pitches out of the strike zone compared to last year when he did it more often.
"But recently, he's been using the outfield gap, which is really impressive. So offensively, that's what I'm seeing. Defensively, better feet on the infield.
"You'd see a lot of the patting of the glove as the feet were moving. I see it on occasion now, but not to the extent I saw it last year. He's still a great baserunner.
"So primarily — shorter hack, greater contact, less chase, right central is coming back into play right now and better feet on defense. That's what I'm seeing."
Put it all together and you have an MVP frontrunner entering September.
What a difference a year makes.
Last season, the Cubs put the pedal to the metal in advance of a four-game series with the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field in August and never looked back until they ran into the brick wall that was the New York Mets in the NLCS.
This season, with another four-game set with the Giants at the "Friendly Confines" on tap this week, the Cubs are in a completely different position.
There is no need for Joe Maddon to step on the gas and floor it into the postseason.
The Cubs entered play Monday 14 games up in the NL Central and they've already started counting down their magic number before the calendar has even flipped to September.
This year, it's going to be about rest and keeping guys sharp and fresh entering October, which the Cubs learned is key after last season.
Right now, the Cubs don't need to lean on Jake Arrieta to come close to a complete game each time out or utilize relievers on three straight nights in tight ballgames.
"I think our guys understand where we're at and it's going to be important to get where we want to go to be at their best," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Monday at Wrigley. "Last year's stretch and playoffs especially was instructive.
"I think we pushed guys hard during the year and it'd be nice for them to be at their absolute best during the most important time of year down the stretch and hopefully into October."
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The Cubs also have some reinforcements on the way with rosters expanding to 40 players Thursday.
Tommy La Stella continues to work out in the minor leagues and Epstein acknowledged Monday the left-handed role player could be back in Chicago as soon as this week.
"The guys coming up will get some playing time," Maddon said. "I've always talked about in a bad game or even in a really good game, to get guys off their feet, that's important.
"Whoever we're going to bring up right now, they're going to be pertinent people that are going to help us win also right now."
Hector Rondon (triceps) and Pedro Strop (knee) are progressing "really well," Maddon said, with Rondon nearing a return while Strop threw in Chicago during the Cubs' recent road trip and reported no issues.
"We're just trying to really play it smart, not push them to come back too quickly," Maddon said. "But they're both making great progress."
John Lackey (strained shoulder) is slated to throw a pair of bullpens this week and could return from the disabled list on the current homestand if all goes well.
When Lackey does come back, the Cubs could keep Mike Montgomery as a starter and go with a six-man rotation to keep everybody fresher down the stretch.
With all the rest in mind, Maddon isn't worried about his players getting rusty or losing their edge at all.
Maddon admitted he's never been in a position like this where the Cubs are close to locking up a playoff spot and still have a month to play. But he compared the idea of taking the foot off the gas to the same way teams handle pitchers at the end of spring training before the regular season starts.
"You're trying to conserve their moments for the most important time of the year," Maddon said. "Regardless of any kind of pushback you might get from the players themselves, I still think you can do it and control it and not worry about the rust component.
"I think by this time of year, rest in a more intelligent manner - limiting innings or number of pitches thrown - I don't think that's going to cause a negative downturn in their abilities by the end of September."
Of course, just because the Cubs are prioritizing rest doesn't mean they're going to take their foot off the gas completely.
Epstein, Lackey and Jon Lester saw firsthand how quickly a large lead can evaporate with the 2011 Boston Red Sox
"I think once you go through a year in which you have a double digit lead right before Labor Day and screw it up and don't even get into October, you don't take anything for granted," Epstein said. "I guess that's the only good thing to come out of September 2011 for me - I'll never look too far ahead and I'll never take anything for granted.
"You have to have a broad perspective and look ahead and understand what might lie ahead, but you have to go earn it. That's been our team's approach from the very beginning - not to accept some of the praise that's come our way. It's to go out and try to earn it with our play and that's definitely true in the month of September."
We heard Will Likely would be utilized on the offensive side of the ball this season, but we weren't sure in what fashion.
Well, first-year head coach DJ Durkin apparently has big plans for the All-Big Ten defensive back, who was listed as a starter on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball when the Terps put out their Week 1 depth chart Monday.
In addition to being the No. 1 starter at nickel back, Likely is also listed as a co-starter at one of the wide receiver positions.
Maryland's 2-deep for Howard has been released. Tyrrell Pigrome and Max Bortenschlager are backing up Perry Hills. pic.twitter.com/Mo2yez2N7Q— Roman Stubbs (@romanstubbs) August 29, 2016
And while Maryland's depth chart didn't list starting return men, you'd have to figure Likely will be the featured player there, as well.
That's quite the workload for the guy who returned to College Park for his senior season.
Of course, there's little doubt that Likely is Maryland's best player. Durkin is going to make sure he gets the most out of Likely this season.
The Terps open their season Saturday against Howard.