By Kevin Powell
WRIGLEY FIELD – Welp, the Cubs are in trouble, to say the least. Kyle Schwarber hit a solo homer in the first inning and then just about nothing went right in the Cubs, 6-1, Game 3 loss to the Dodgers.
“Of course we expected more,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “The Dodgers have pitched well. Surprised, it’s somewhat surprising. I don’t want to use the word disappointing. Our guys are working really hard. They’ve pitched well. Hit a couple balls well. But, overall, the three games, I guess their relief pitchers have pretty much thrown a no-hitter against us, so they’ve been pretty good.”
The Cubs actually have one hit off Dodgers relievers. But they went 0-for-26 against L.A.’s bullpen to start the series, a new postseason record. Really nothing has gone right for the defending champs and now they find themselves in a near impossible situation, having to dig out of a 3-0 hole in the series.
“Tomorrow is a Game 7,” Maddon said. “We have three or four Game 7’s in a row coming up right now. So it’s just about, you know, we’ve got to counterpunch it at some point, and that’s absolutely necessary tomorrow.”
You have to wonder if the Cubs are worn out. They’ve played a major league-high 520 games between the regular season and postseason since the start of the 2015 campaign. And on top of that, they’re coming off an intense five game series with the Nationals.
“It was pretty draining,” Kris Bryant said. “Some good games there. It was pretty taxing for our bullpen and pitchers, too.”
The Cubs having to play five games in the first round and the Dodgers only playing thee has absolutely mattered in this series. If Wade Davis doesn’t throw 44 pitches in Game 5 of the NLDS, then he probably comes out to pitch in the 9th inning of Game 2 instead of John Lackey.
The Cubs aren’t making any excuses, but it’s impacted the bullpen in a major way, and has effected the way Maddon has had to manage.
But don’t ask Kyle Schwarber about this team running out of a gas.
“No, not at all. I’ll shut you down right there. We’re not running out of gas at all.”
Professional players will rarely admit they’re tired or worn out, but they do look drained. And so do Cubs fans. Wrigley was quiet and reserved through most the game.
“There’s definitely not any quit in our team,” Schwarber insisted.
It was mostly a mixed bag of answers in the Cubs clubhouse when asked about any sort of fatigue. Kyle Hendricks, who gave up three earned runs over five innings, shrugged it off saying it comes down to execution. Some things “here and there” are a little bit fatigued according to Addison Russell. And Anthony Rizzo laughed off the idea that they’re tired.
“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.”
Tired or not, they’re going to have to dig down deep if they want to become just the second team ever to come back from a 3-0 deficit.
Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7p. Follow on twitter @kpowell720