The finish line is as far away as the starting point for the Cubs, and that should be a welcome development. Recent history says they are about to start rolling, and the way they swing the bat says the turnaround has already begun.
In spite of the weather that is forcing four players out of the game, they scored double-digit the third consecutive Saturday game, beating the twins 14-9 in front of 40,950 at Wrigley Field.
Jason Heywards's base-charged single broke a 9-9 tie in the seventh, and the Cubs added four more runs in the inning to make the lead as comfortable as it could be on a day like this.
The Cubs ended their season with 20 hits, including 1
Manager Joe Maddon said the game reminded him of one in the Texas League, where his Midland side lost to El Paso 30-5, despite El Paso's lack of home running
"That's impossible," said Maddon. "The park is smaller than this, the wind is blowing stronger, but that's happened, for those who have never experienced West Texas baseball, you've seen it today, that's how it looks, how it's played Fortunately, we lost the last field goal. "
Twins left field player Eddie Rosario and Cubs midfielder Albert Almora in fifth – Rosario for a defensive mid-inning substitute, Almora for a pinch of runners because his legs cramped – as the temperature was climbed to 96 with a 107 heat index.
The twins switched hands in the sixth after Bobby Wilson saw the bases wobbly, and they replaced midfielder Max Kepler in the eighth due to another obvious case of dehydration.  "Not everyone is used to it," said Javier Baez, who was 2-for-6 and had his usual share of outstanding fielding games. "I was fine, but I'm used to it."
The Cubs are 46-35 years old at mid-season, just ahead of where they hoped, but within sight of President Theo Epstein's 95- Plus annual goal.
Since the arrival of Maddon they have been playing better in the second half of the season. They have built their .597 winning percentage (338-228) in the Maddon era by going 157-85 after the 81st game, with 52 or 53 true half-half victories in each of the last three seasons.
"The one big thing is, if you're alright, it's nice (to have a good record)," said Maddon. "If you're not where you want to be, do not panic, there's still plenty of time, of course, as I've learned over time."
Maddon expects a Cubs team to hold the National League Central in this Season for just five days, better performance.
"We played well but have not played to our abilities yet," he said. "Part of it is that we missed KB (Kris Bryant) for a bit, we missed (Carl) Edwards and (Brandon) Morrow a bit and came through that moment, our initial pitching did not put it down as we thought There have been a few things that have happened, and yet we are still in a good position. "
The Cubs have scored double-digit runs in their last three games, including two wins over the Twins. They go for a sweep Sunday with Jon Lester face Lance Lynn.
Tyler Chatwood got out of the hook on Saturday, though a season-high seven runs allowed. Maddon hoped to put him in seventh, but he imploded in a four-run-fifth when the twins took a 7-4 lead. The Cubs jumped 9-7 back, but the Twins tied 9-9 before the Cubs took control in seventh place with five runs.
"We are in a good position," said Chatwood. "We're starting to play good baseball, we're in a good position in the table, everyone is excited to get started."
The air conditioning is fine, too.
Phil Rogers is a freelance reporter for the Chicago Tribune.
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