One year ago on this day Rich Hill and the Los Angeles Dodgers shutout the Chicago Cubs, 6-0, to take a 2-1 lead in the National league Championship series. Five days later the Cubs snapped their historic 71-year drought, beating the Dodgers in Game 7 to return to the World Series for the first time.
But, what a difference a year makes. As you wake up to the news that — once again — the Cubs have their backs squarely against the famed ivy covering the Wrigley Field outfield walls, it is clear the Cubs are not the same team from a year ago.
Can they come back from being down 3-0 in the series? Sure, anything is possible. Any. Thing. If they need a little inspiration, go upstairs and talk to Theo Epstein or, better yet, just glance in the opponents dugout. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts knows all about comebacks.
Joe Maddon believes the Cubs can come back — at least that’s what he said publicly after being “insulted” by the Dodgers on national television on Tuesday night.
“I’ve got the little wristband on, we never quit,” he said. “It’s been done before. Theo saw it.”
There will be no special inspirational team meetings today. No extra BP. No black cats, or goats, or Holy Cows, or a man named Bartman. Maddon said it all depends on routine and talent.
“There is nothing inspirational I could possibly say that’s going to make a difference. We’ve just got to go out and play our normal game. I’m not going to sit here and throw a lot of hyperbole your way. You have to — your back’s absolutely against the wall. Tomorrow is a Game 7. We have three or four Game 7s in a row coming up right now. We’ve got to counter-punch at some point.”
Kris Bryant doesn’t sound as optimistic. He told the Chicago Sun-Times his team is “tired.”
Uh-oh. There is no yawning when it comes to October baseball. But his teammates disagree:
“We’re not running out of gas at all. There’s definitely not any quit in our team.”
“I’m a 28-year-old, I can run laps around this place right now…to sit here and say anybody’s drained, I’ve got to disagree with that.”
Someone tell Kris Bryant there is no yawning in October.