Chicago Cubs should still feel confident heading into Game 3


On the eve of Game 3, the Chicago Cubs find themselves in an 0-2 hole as they prepare to square off with the New York Mets at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs, seemingly soaring into the playoffs and even considered the favorites by many to win the World Series, now face an uphill climb. These Cubs, however, are not the Cubs of 1969, 1984 and 2003. Forget goats, black cats and Steve Bartman. This Cubs team is unlike any iteration of its past predecessors.

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Guided by a first-year manager in Joe Maddon, who is as cool as they come, Maddon taps into his players, particularly the rookies, led by the super-trio of Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber, like no other.

He has a coolness about him, instilling confidence, all while keeping his players in the moment. No matter how big the stage and how much steeper the odds at stake become, there’s just a certain feeling with this Cubs team that they’re never out of it.

Of course realizing how bright the potential of this team is in going forward does help soften the blow should this season end shorter than one would like. On the other hand, this team has defied odds all season-long.

Jacob deGrom will get the ball for Game 3, and it’s a good bet the New York Mets could make this a 3-0 series lead. DeGrom is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in the playoffs thus far, while Kyle Hendricks had a no-decison in his only start against the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Division Series, to go with a 5.79 ERA.

Though Lester struggled to keep pace with Matt Harvey during Game 1, and Jake Arrieta was anything but the super-human freak he was during the second-half of the season, Hendricks will give it a go and try to do what the two aces ahead of him failed to do — pitch the Cubs to victory.

Wrigley Field will be electric and it’s the kind of home-cooking the Chicago Cubs need. Honestly, the Cubs weren’t altogether terrible in Game 1. They hit the ball hard and had Harvey on the ropes at times, though he was always able to make his pitch to get out of the jam. The Cubs’ bats, or lack thereof, made Syndergaard look like a second-coming of Tom Seaver during Game 2.

So why the optimism down 2-0? Why not? The Cubs can’t go out like this. It’s not in their nature to roll over and play dead.

Kris Bryant is only hitting .185 in the postseason, which leaves plenty of room for improvement. During the regular season, however, he was a much better hitter at the Friendly Confines, where he was a .311 hitter versus .243 on the road.

During the postseason, he’s a .111 hitter on the road, .333 at home. In fact, the whole lineup has done well at Wrigley during the playoffs, a welcome sight for an offense looking to get back on track against another one of the toughest Mets’ pitchers in deGrom.

During the summer, the Cubs were struggling entering a series against the Mets, and Joe Maddon hired a magician as the team looked to awake from its offensive slumber. It’s now up to the Cubs to reclaim some more magic before it’s too late.

Perhaps Maddon’s toughest test yet to inspire his youthful team to another victory in 2015, you can never count out a team who has played with the determination and desire like they truly belong here.

1969, 2003, 2008? Nope. This team only cares about winning in 2015. They know nothing from the past defines who they are, or what this Cubs’ team is about.

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