Cubs

Cardinals remain confident despite 2-1 series deficit

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Cardinals remain confident despite 2-1 series deficit

The St. Louis Cardinals don’t seem too concerned about their current predicament, even on the verge of elimination.

The status of their catcher — and heart and soul — is uncertain, the Cubs offense is red hot and Wrigley Field sounds more like a rock concert than a baseball game. But none of the Cardinals wavered late Monday night after an 8-6 loss to the Cubs in Game 3 of the National League Divisional Series.

Veteran John Lackey pitches next for St. Louis, which trails the best-of-five series 2-1. He’ll face the Cubs’ Jason Hammel in Game 4 at 3:37 p.m. on Tuesday.

“I like our odds when our backs are against the wall,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “This is the kind of team that we've had all season long, regardless of what anybody else thinks, regardless of odds, regardless of who we're stacked upagainst.”

[MORE CUBS: Yadier Molina's thumb injury flares up in Cubs-Cardinals]

Don’t mistake their swagger for stupidity — the Cardinals realize how tall a task they face. It’d be hard to ignore the six home runs their pitchers allowed to six different Cubs hitters on Monday night. They’re also uncertain about catcher Yadier Molina, who re-aggravated a thumb injury during a fourth inning at-bat and was lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth.

But they still possess the confidence only a 100-win season in baseball’s toughest division can produce.

“I love us,” said Cardinals right fielder Jason Heyward, who homered and doubled in four at-bats. “We don’t ever stop. Ahead or behind, we don’t ever stop playing the game. We’re going to put this one behind us just like the first game we won and just like we did (Saturday) when we lost.”

They also have experience to lean on.

“It never hurts,” pitcher Adam Wainwright said.

[MORE CUBS: Cardinals Game 4 starter John Lackey: Past experience is irrelevant]

While experiences means squat if they don’t execute on Tuesday, Wainwright thinks it can help Cardinals players tune out the noise. This isn’t the first time the Cardinals have faced adversity. Though their season could end within 18 hours, Wainwright said his teammates don’t feel any panic.

“I don’t feel like we have to play harder than we’ve played all year right now,” Wainwright said. “We’ve been in this situation before. We know we have to come out and play a good ballgame. When you simplify things like we can here — we don’t worry about the situation, the games, up or down, we’re going to come out and execute. And if everybody comes out and executes tomorrow, we’re going to be just fine.”

Matheny liked the way the Cardinals rallied twice in Monday’s loss to keep the Cubs on their toes.

While they didn’t win, the Cardinals scored four runs off Jake Arrieta, the same amount he had allowed combined in his previous nine starts. Heyward’s sixth-inning homer got St. Louis within a run, and Stephen Piscotty’s round-tripper in the ninth made it a two-run game. Matheny expects to see more of the same confidence on Tuesday.

“This team just continues to fight, and that's not something that you lose regardless of where you stand, and I'm excited to watch them come out and compete,” Matheny said. “That's what this team does well and what they've done all season. Tomorrow is the kind of game where they'll come out with a lot of heart ready to do their thing.”

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist won't win the Comeback Player of the Year award this winter, but maybe he can take home a Grammy for Best New Artist?

The Cubs veteran infielder/outfielder posted a hilarious video on his Instagram Wednesday night showcasing how he's been spending October after the Cubs were unceremoniously ousted from the playoffs after on the third day of the month.

It's a fantastic music video of Zobrist lip-syncing to Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait" while he nearly knocks the TV off the wall of his home by swinging the bat indoors pretending to hit off Clayton Kershaw and frolicking around a field that looks shockingly similar to Hershel's farm from the second season of "The Walking Dead":

View this post on Instagram

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year.... I will wait for you....

A post shared by Ben Zobrist (@benzobrist18) on

Zobrist also posted a lengthy caption on his perspective on the Cubs' disappointing end to the season:

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) 
Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not
Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. 
I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. 
What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. 
To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year....
I will wait for you....

Come for the Zobrist lip sync, but stay for the 37-year-old using a bat as a guitar while wearing a sleeveless shirt and rocking an old-timey top hat.

A year ago, Zobrist completely reshaped his offseason workout plan after three straight years of playing deep into October. It appears he's added another new trick to his winter workout — hopping over fences even though there is a clear opening just a foot away.

Hey, whatever works...

Cubs Talk Podcast: Manny Machado’s value and other Cubs offseason wish list items

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Manny Machado’s value and other Cubs offseason wish list items

Did Manny Machado’s value take a hit at all after he openly admitted hustling isn’t his “cup of tea”? Our Cubs team (David Kaplan, Kelly Crull, Tony Andracki, Jeff Nelson) debate that, plus the potential fit of Machado or Bryce Harper for the 2019 Cubs and beyond.

[MORE: The most underrated storyline of the Cubs offseason]

The crew also runs down the top items on the Cubs’ offseason wish list – ranging from bullpen help to infield depth to a set leadoff hitter – in what may be the most impactful winter in Theo Epstein’s tenure in Chicago.

Listen to the podcast here or via the embedded player below: