Cubs now can re­group

Come­back win Tues­day gives them time to rest

Baltimore Sun - - MLB PLAYOFFS - By Mark Gon­za­lez

CHICAGO — Hit­ting the re­set but­ton Wednes­day was a ne­ces­sity for a Chicago Cubs team that dra­mat­i­cally avoided its first elim­i­na­tion game a night ear­lier.

The 6-5 come­back vic­tory over the San Fran­cisco Giants on Tues­day night also al­lows the Cubs to rest be­fore their next chal­lenge.

“That’s im­por­tant for us,” Ben Zo­brist said as he sur­veyed a wild Wrigley Field cel­e­bra­tion the day after Game 4 of the Na­tional League Divi­sion Se­ries. “We re­ally didn’t play as well as we feel like we could have in this se­ries. We pitched great. Some of us didn’t play of­fen­sive the way we’re ca­pa­ble of.

“So it will be nice to have a fresh start. … You’re fac­ing a whole new group of guys, a new group of pitch­ers. And I think our con­fi­dence is up, which is good.”

The Cubs won two of three one- run games against the Giants de­spite mea­ger con­tri­bu­tions from Ad­di­son Rus­sell, An­thony Rizzo, Dex­ter Fowler, Ja­son Hey­ward and Zo­brist, who sparked a four-run, ninth-in­ning rally in the clincher Tues­day with an RBI dou­ble.

“The big thing is, we got a cou­ple days off,” said left-han­der Jon Lester, his voice hoarse. “I don’t want to say it wears off, but we be­come fans [to­day] and see what hap­pens. Then we’ll try to get the mo­men­tum go­ing when we face the next team.”

The Cubs can feel op­ti­mistic and for­tu­nate be­cause they have a three-day break be­fore Game 1 of the NL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries Ben Zo­brist cel­e­brates after hit­ting an RBI dou­ble against the Giants in the cru­cial ninth in­ning Tues­day. GIANTS VS. CUBS Cubs win 3-1 Game 1: Cubs 1-0 Game 2: Cubs 5-2 Game 3: Giants 6-5 (13) Game 4: Cubs 6-5 against the Los An­ge­les Dodgers or Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als on Satur­day at Wrigley.

The Cubs were 5-2 against the Na­tion­als and 4-3 against the Dodgers this sea­son. Man­ager Joe Mad­don doesn’t have a pref­er­ence for which team ad­vances.

“Be­cause when you start wor­ry­ing about who you’re go­ing to play, it could bite you,” Mad­don said. “We played very well against both.”

The NLDS re­in­forced Mad­don’s pre­series theme of re­bound­ing from ad­ver­sity. The Cubs over­came a 5-2 deficit in the ninth in­ning Tues­day, dur­ing which Mad­don used Will­son Con­tr­eras to pinch-hit for Rus­sell, who had 95 RBIs dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son. Con­tr­eras de­liv­ered a two-run sin­gle to tie the game at 5.

“We’re mov­ing up,” gen­eral man­ager Jed Hoyer said. “We got one of the three steps down, and we have two more. And there will be more ad­ver­sity.

“That’s one thing you try to tell your­self go­ing into the play­offs. Even a suc­cess­ful post­sea­son has these aw­ful mo­ments where you have a pit in your stom­ach. And we ex­pe­ri­enced that for eight in­nings. It’s great to [over­come that], but you have to steer your­self to think it’s go­ing to hap­pen.”

Per­haps the ninth in­ning Tues­day will serve as a spring­board for the slump­ing play­ers. Rizzo, who was 1- for-15 in the se­ries, showed bet­ter plate dis­ci­pline and drew a walk against sidearm left-han­der Javier Lopez dur­ing the de­ci­sive rally. And Zo­brist was 2-for-15 be­fore hit­ting his RBI dou­ble.


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