CINCINNATI - The feeling of inevitability is sinking in as the Cubs approach June buried in the standings and looking at another July roster purge that could involve everybody from Friday's starting pitcher and closer to the entire starting outfield that takes the field against the Cincinnati Reds.
"You're running up on a couple months away now," manager Dale Sveum said of the looming July 31 trade deadline. "So you're trying to put things together where you pull off some streaks and winning months and winning weeks, to give yourself a chance to give yourself hope - no question about it.
"But we all know that if we don't, there can be changes."
Until a lost home series against the moribund New York Mets last weekend and a wrong-way sweep in Pittsburgh that followed, players routinely talked about getting back to .500, making an extended run and forcing the front office to consider adding instead of selling off.
But as Scott Feldman headed to the mound Friday, he looked as much like the team's best trading chip than its best chance to win the opener of a three-game series against the Reds.
Closer Kevin Gregg, center fielder David DeJesus and possibly pitchers such as Matt Garza and even James Russell could be on the brink of being shopped.
Fifty-nine games remain before the deadline, with 37 against teams with winning records - and 21 against teams that entered Friday in first place or tied for first.