With his team running on fumes and grasping to a one-game lead in the NL Central, Cubs manager Joe Maddon pulled another wacky rabbit out of his hat Wednesday night, instructing his players and coaches to dress up like zombies before their flight to Washington D.C., where they’ll play a makeup game against the Nationals Thursday afternoon.

“Everyone knows how I like to keep things loose,” said Maddon. “Dressing up like zombies will help our guys forget that we’re completely out of gas with a depleted bullpen and some of our best players battling injuries while the Brewers and Cardinals nip at our heels.”

Jon Lester is resting his injured back and didn’t make the trip. His spot in the zombie rotation was taken by Tyler Chatwood, who sources say has been in a zombie-like state since shortly after the Cubs signed him to a three-year, $38 million deal this off-season.

Ever the good sport, first baseman Anthony Rizzo took the festivities in stride.

“Braaaaaaains! I need braaaaaaains!” said Rizzo, wearing green makeup and fighting off sleep mid-interview. “And a few weeks of rest before the playoffs! I neeeeeed that too!”