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Giants 4, Cubs 0: Hail and farewell, probably, to Willson Contreras

The trade deadline is less than 36 hours away.

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The best thing about Sunday’s 4-0 Cubs loss to the Giants is that it was over at 9:07 p.m. Central time.

I mean, I love this team and I watch all the games to cover them for you, but I’m glad the Cubs will have no more games this year that end at midnight CT or later (barring any sort of long extra-inning affair, which is unlikely). All of the Cubs’ remaining 61 games will be played in either the Central or Eastern time zone.

This one might have been over with its very first batter, when Giants outfielder Luis Gonzalez stole a home run from Christopher Morel [VIDEO].

Who knows? If that ball goes another couple of feet and is a home run, maybe the Cubs can score more runs off Carlos Rodón. Instead, Rodón was absolutely dominant, throwing seven innings and allowing just two singles, striking out 10.

All the Giants runs scored in the fourth inning off Adrian Sampson, who retired the first two hitters in that inning and then loaded the bases on a walk, single and hit batter. Tommy Hottovy then came out to talk with Sampson, but whatever he said clearly didn’t work, because a two-run single by former Cubs minor leaguer Jason Vosler and two-run double by Austin Wynns followed. Sampson did strike out six, a season high.

That was it, really; the Cubs managed two more hits, also singles, after Rodón left the game, but no Cubs runner got past first base.

Props to a few Cubs are due, though. First, to the bullpen (Brandon Hughes, Rowan Wick, Steven Brault and Erich Uelmen), who threw four scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a walk and striking out five. That, at least, gave the Cubs a possibility of getting back into the game, but Giants pitching was just too good in this one.

Second, to P.J. Higgins, who appeared to be seriously injured when he collided with the outside of a photographers’ area near the first-base dugout in the seventh inning. Not only did Higgins stay in the game, but in the eighth made this excellent play [VIDEO].

You can see Higgins in that clip, briefly, kind of limp off the field. Hopefully he’s okay and not worse than just bruised up.

The story you all want to hear about is that of Willson Contreras, who might have played his last game in a Cubs uniform. It was a quiet day at the plate for Contreras, who went 0-for-4 and struck out in the ninth in what might have been his final Cubs at-bat.

This sums things up not just for Willson, but for all of us:

I suppose it’s possible that Jed Hoyer doesn’t get the return he wants for Contreras and that Willson remains a Cub. Remember that with the failure of international draft talks between players and owners last month, the qualifying offer is now back. So, the Cubs could keep Contreras, make him a qualifying offer and get a draft pick if he leaves. It’s possible the value of that pick might be higher than anything Hoyer could get in trade, if reports that teams don’t want to match the price he’s asking are true.

One more quote from Contreras is worth noting:

Let’s hope Cubs players don’t have to learn too much from losing after 2022.

Feel free to use this thread for trade deadline discussion today.

The Cubs will have Monday off, then begin a three-game series against the Cardinals in St. Louis Tuesday evening. That game will begin at 6:45 p.m. CT, a little less than two hours after the official trade deadline of 5 p.m. CT. By then, we should know all about whatever deals Hoyer & Co. make. Keegan Thompson is scheduled to start for the Cubs Tuesday against Adam Wainwright for St. Louis. TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.