The Cubs look like a different team with Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant producing in the middle of the lineup.
Both sluggers collected their first postseason hits — and homers — in Monday's 8-6 slugfest victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.
Bryant singled to left in the bottom of the first inning after beginning the postseason 0-for-11 with four strikeouts and two double plays.
Then in the fifth, Bryant broke a 2-2 tie by depositing Michael Wacha's full-count pitch into the left field bleachers. Rizzo followed with a moonshot into the wind to right field.
Despite his struggles, Bryant said he hasn't changed his approach at all this postseason.
"You know, the first one is obviously good to get out of the way," he said. "First hit of the postseason, first hit in the regular season, it's always good to get it out of the way.
"That's kind of a monkey off my back and I moved forward from there, had some good at-bats, saw the ball really good and it was just an overall good game for us."
Rizzo admitted it "definitely felt good" to join in on the Cubs postseason party after starting out 0-for-12.
But even without Bryant and Rizzo, the Cubs entered play Monday 2-1 in the postseason, getting an offensive boost from Kyle Schwarber, Dexter Fowler and Jorge Soler (who all homered Monday, too).
Still, the Cubs weren't going to keep winning forever without their big bats contributing.
"This isn't about any one," Rizzo said. "It's about us; it's about the whole team. When Kris stands in the box, even if he can't actually swing the bat, him just standing in the box and his presence alone means more to this team than anyone can imagine.
"It was just a matter of time before he started hitting and does what he does."
With such a young core, the Cubs look like they could be lined up for many more postseason runs beyond 2015, after all the rookies have gotten more experience under their belts.
But the Cubs aren't thinking that way. They're going for it right now, regardless of age or experience.
"We just have to enjoy this," Rizzo said. "You never know what can happen in this game. You don't know if we'll ever get back to this point. So we have to enjoy this, one game at a time."