Yesterday was a tough off-day for me, and I’d expect a lot of you, too. There was the combined impact of a second straight loss this postseason (the first time the Cubs have lost two in a row this postseason (they haven’t won two in a row yet, either)), and the loss coming in such a way that necessitated deep, critical dives into what exactly happened.
It’s like they made this GIF for how I was feeling:
Man, I'm having a really tough time shaking off that loss. I'm usually pretty ready to joke around by now. But I'm still gut-punched. pic.twitter.com/NPCTI0ly6D
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) October 16, 2017
… but today is another day.
It’s another GOOD day, in fact! Because it’s October 17, and the Chicago Cubs are one of four teams still playing baseball! How could we be sad today!?!?
Those aren’t false question mark-exclamation point combos either, my friends. I’m actually feeling really good this morning. Maybe it was the sleep, maybe it was the Yankees pounding the Astros to get back into the ALCS after they went down 2-0, or maybe it’s the apple fritter I know awaits me at Stan’s Donuts, but I’m refreshed in the idea that if the Cubs can win tonight, things feel perfectly competitive in this series once again. (I am not currently entertaining the near 50% possibility that they could lose, sending me into a spiral of despair, shame, and more apple fritters.)
The Cubs get a rested Kyle Hendricks on the mound tonight, who generally always pitches excellently in the postseason, though he’s coming off one of his less effective postseason outings in that NLDS Game Five. Still, the Cubs have won the last three times Hendricks has taken the mound in the postseason (going back to Game Seven of the World Series last year), and the last time he pitched at Wrigley Field in the NLCS was his masterful performance against the Dodgers in Game Six, blanking them for 7.1 innings, allow two hits, no walks, and striking out six. Repeat that, please.
The Cubs should also have a rested bullpen, and a rested lineup, fresh and reinvigorated to be home. The energy, positivity, and experience facing this situation should all be there.
Setting aside the X’s and O’s of the game until a little bit later, I just circle back to the feeling of experiencing NLCS baseball for the first straight year. Maybe the Cubs win today, maybe the Cubs lose. Maybe they win this series, maybe they lose it. But to be in this place again, feeling that hope and fear, is such a privilege. And that gets me pumped the eff up.
It’s a new day. I’m ready.