After being shutout in back-to-back games for the first time this season and for the first time in over two years, the Cubs are down two games to one in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series. But with everything that has gone wrong the last two games, a win Wednesday and the series is back to even.
These Cubs are not panicking according to the Tribune. Joe Maddon and the players that spoke with the mainstream media after Game 3 said all of the right things. Maddon did not make any excuses for his struggling offense. The Cubs have to pick it up.
“There really is no excuse. We’ve just go to pick it up quickly.”
Maddon pointed to early hits and runs in Game 4 being keys for the Cubs just to relax and play baseball.
“We’re able to win that game and the narrative is going to change entirely, so I can’t get so dramatic about it.”
“There’s no panic here. It’s just one of those times where we got beat today. We’ll come out and get ‘em tomorrow. We’ve done it all year. We’re here for a reason. Belief is very powerful, and I think we all have that.”
“I don’t think it’s panic, to be honest,” Miguel Montero said to the Tribune. “I think we feel pretty good still. Obviously you don’t want to be down 2-1, but we feel pretty good where we’re at. We want to be 2-1 ahead, but we’ve been worse before. It’s something we shouldn’t be panicking about it.”
ESPN and just about every other outlet was quick to point out Tuesday night that the team that loses Game 3 of a best-of-seven series that was tied 1-1 goes on to drop the series 71 percent of the time.
When the Cubs are able to breakthrough and reach the ultimate goal, it will not be easy. There is just too much that weighs on the organization. It will take the team that finally wins it all to overcome adversity and do something historic on its way to a title.
These Cubs haven’t quit all season and have not lost three games in a row since July 5-9, a five-game slide before winning the last game prior to the break. There is a Game 4 and a Game 5. Those games are guaranteed. And if the Cubs are able to play Wednesday the way they are capable, the NLCS becomes a best-of-three series with two of those games at Wrigley Field.
NLCS News and Notes
Here are the post-game reports and notes from Game 3 of the NLCS …
• Comcast SportsNet reported the Cubs offensive troubles deepen as Dodgers take control of NLCS. The Cubs could not solve Rich Hill and want to put Game 3 in a wastebasket according to Bruce Levine. And ex-Cub Rich Hill helped beat the Cubs in the playoffs for the second time in his career according to the Sun-Times, this time with the Dodgers.
• Jake Arrieta failed in Game 3 according to the Sun-Times and vowed to pitch again this season. Cubs’ offensive woes have put pitchers, including Jake Arrieta, under pressure according to ESPN Chicago.
• Ben Zobrist explained why the Dodgers have become a matchup nightmare for the Cubs.
• Ken Rosenthal reported it is time for the Cubs to snap out of it, but how?
• Tim Brown reported for the first time in six months, the Cubs are playing from behind.
• According to Bob Nightengale as the Cubs offense evaporates the pressure builds.
• Cubs postseason shutout losses: Game 3 of 1906 World Series, Game 1 of 1918 World Series, Game 5 of 2003 NLCS, Game 1 of 2015 NLDS, Game 2 of 2016 NLCS, Game 2 of 2016 NLCS
• And the Cubs were shutout by Ed Walsh, Babe Ruth, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill.
Jorge Soler has struggled to stay healthy this season and it’s been more of the same for him in October.
Joe Maddon admitted before Tuesday’s game that Soler did not play as much in the NLDS as the Cubs would have liked because he was not healthy enough to do so.
During his weekly spot on the Spiegel and Goff Show (670 The Score), Maddon said Soler was not 100 percent in San Francisco, that’s the reason he stayed away from him. Maddon explained Soler had improved and that he looked good during Monday’s workout at Dodger Stadium.
Maddon said the same to the Tribune before Tuesday’s game. But the phrasing of Maddon’s comment is rather concerning.
“I can’t deny that. But then you watch him in certain games and when he does his work, watch (batting practice), and it’s pretty darn good. For him, it might be getting used to the grind of the day. For right now, I think he looks good so I wanted to keep him out there.”
Soler did not look engaged Tuesday before Maddon got him out of the game. When the incredibly talented Soler is engaged and focused on the day’s game, he has the ability to be one of the best players on the field. When he’s not, it is best for the team to just leave him on the bench.
Dave Roberts continued to deny Tuesday that Clayton Kershaw would start Game 5. The Dodgers don’t like announcing their starting pitchers. Andy McCullough reported Kenta Maeda is “still considered the Game 5 starter” and the Dodgers would like for the media to quit asking them about Game 5.
McCullough pointed out Kershaw did not throw his side session Monday “which would make him appearing in Game 5 less likely.”
According to Ken Gurnick, the Dodgers did not rule out Kershaw starting Game 5 at Dodger Stadium but only if it was an elimination game. Gurnick reported it sounds like Game 6 at Wrigley is more likely for Kershaw.
At this point of the series, regardless of what happens Wednesday night, if the Dodgers do not start Kershaw in Game 5 that could be the break the Cubs need before a Game 6 or possibly a Game 7 at Wrigley Field. Teams looking to win championships do not let off the pedal the way the Dodgers would be if Kershaw does not start Game 5.
News and Notes
• Look for Joe Maddon and the Cubs to be all over Urias’ pickoff move Wednesday. Julio Urias balks when he throws over and there was a lot of pregame talk Tuesday about Urias’ issue according to Jayson Stark.
• Before Game 4 of the ALCS and Game 3 of the NLCS, Peter Gammons reported the average team offense in the postseason: .218/.287/.363/.651 with a 24.5% strikeout rate.
• Scott Boras explained how Kris Bryant lives up to MVP hype with attitude Cubs need now.
• The Tribune reported Jake Arrieta is still living in the penthouse of starting pitchers according to his agent, Scott Boras.
• Joe Maddon explained why he shuffled the lineup before Game 3.
• FanGraphs – It’s Not So Much That the Cubs’ Offense Is Missing
• Aroldis Chapman has no ill will toward Dodgers after they nixed a deal for him because of the domestic abuse allegations according to the Sun-Times.
• Javier Baez could use some help at the plate from his friends according to Bruce Levine.
• Joel Sherman explained how the NLCS spotlights the depth require in MLB’s new age.
• For David Ross, it’s all about family according to the Tribune.
This Day in Cubstory
2010 – Jim Hendry hired Mike Quade to be the full-time manager of the Cubs. Hendry skipped over Ryne Sandberg, who was thought to be the favorite for the job.
1984 – James McDonald, born
1978 – Bill Veeck named Don Kessinger the White Sox player-manager for the 1979 season
1969 – Lance Dickson, born
1966 – Dave Veres, born
1964 – Mike Perez, born
1951 – Cubs purchased Grant Dunlop from Shreveport (Texas League)
1943 – Brock Davis, born
1938 – Vic Roznovsky, born
1886 – St. Louis evened the Championship Series at a game apiece with a 12-0 victory over the Chicago National League Ball Club. Bob Caruthers tossed a shutout and Tip O’Neill hit two homers at West Side Park.
1876 – Mordecai Brown, born