#Cubs Theo: “If we show up and win, we’re dangerous”
If the Cubs need inspiration to rally from a 3-0 deficit in the National League Championship Series against the Mets, they can look to Theo Epstein, who knows it can be done.
In 2004 when Epstein was the Red Sox GM, his team trailed the Yankees, 3-0, in the American League Championship Series. Boston was outscored, 32-16, in the first three games, yet won Game 4 in 12 innings, and ended up winning the series, then sweeping St. Louis in the World Series.
“It’s been done before and we can do it,” said Epstein, now president of baseball operations for the Cubs. “Nine different times this year we’ve won four or more games in a row. We’ll just do it a 10th time, one at a time.”
Cubs manager Joe Maddon has emphasized one-game winning streaks all season. Wednesday’s Game 4 is no exception.
“Show up and win a ballgame tomorrow,” Epstein said. “If we show up and win tomorrow, we’re dangerous. Trust me. It’s been done before, rumor has it. We can do it. We’ve had nine winning streaks of four or more games this year, so we get hot, we get really hot, we can do it. We just have to show up and win tomorrow.”
The Mets opened the 3-0 lead over the Cubs in the NLCS with a 5-2 win on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. After the game, Maddon said he would approach Wednesday’s Game 4 as he has every other Wednesday game. His message is: Win.
Since Spring Training, Maddon has preached that he wants the same effort on March 21 in a Cactus League game as the players would give July 21 or Oct. 21. There will be no pre-game pep talk. Maddon doesn’t believe in team meetings. He holds three over the course of a season: one prior to the start of spring drills, another at the All-Star break, and one more before the postseason begins.
“From my perspective, it’s business as usual tomorrow,” Maddon said. “Come out, get ready to play, and just take it from there.”
The Mets’ young pitching has quieted the Cubs’ young hitters, but New York also has been aggressive on the base paths and taken advantage of every opening possible. The Mets scored the tie-breaking run Tuesday on a wild pitch, for example.
“Things bounce your way when you play good, and we’ve definitely gotten outplayed these first three games,” Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks said. “That doesn’t mean we can’t outplay them the next four.”
The Cubs did overcome the odds to get to the postseason. They beat the Pirates in the NL Wild Card Game. They did topple the powerful Cardinals in the NL Division Series. They know about the Red Sox’s history.
“Keep battling,” rookie Kyle Schwarber said of the Cubs mantra now. “We’re going to keep battling until the end. It’s happened before, so it can – we’re really looking forward to getting back out to the ballpark [Wednesday]. … It’s a little frustrating, but we need to move past it and keep going. It’s been done before, and this team has done some special things throughout this whole season. We don’t count ourselves out by any means.”
Tuesday’s loss is behind them.
“There’s confidence in this clubhouse in everybody,” Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo said. “We just gotta keep playing baseball. One New York team has blown a 3-0 lead, let’s make it the other New York team. That’s the way we’re going to look at it. That’s the only thing we can do is be optimistic, and come out and play baseball.”
— Carrie Muskat