ST. LOUIS - Dexter Fowler joked with reporters that he can't divulge the gameplan against Cardinals starter John Lackey in Game 1 of the National League Division Series Friday night.
But for the Cubs, the offensive gameplan is simple: Follow Fowler's lead.
The 29-year-old outfielder set the tone in the NL wild-card game in Pittsburgh Wednesday night, leading off the game with a single, stealing second base and then coming around to score a couple pitches later.
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With Jake Arrieta on the hill, one run was all the Cubs truly needed.
"The leadoff at-bat by Dexter was huge," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "It's really rare that sometimes you can reflect back on a game of baseball and the very first hitter of the game can set the tone for the entire thing.
"You'd almost think that's crazy, but [Fowler] did."
It's been a running storyline all season that Maddon tells Fowler all the time - "you go, we go" - and it's true.
The Cubs were 55-24 in the regular season when Fowler scored a run - a .696 winning percentage. More importantly, they're undefeated in the postseason when Fowler scores a run.
After a slow first half (.232 average, .308 on-base percentage, .677 OPS), Fowler really turned it on in the second half (.272 AVG, .389 OBP, .852 OPS) as the young Cubs found their identity and hit their stride.
Fowler led the Cubs in runs, walks and stolen bases this season, finishing with career highs in just about every category.
Even when Fowler is not scoring runs, he's still helping to set the tone for the offense by just working the count and seeing pitches. He finished 10th in the NL in pitches per plate appearance (4.09).
That culminated in his huge wild-card game, as Fowler added a single, homer and pair of runs to his first-inning success.
The eight-year veteran is slated to become a free agent at the end of the season and he gave Maddon and the Cubs coaching staff a lot of credit for pushing the right buttons to motivate guys inside the clubhouse.
Fowler takes pride in being the catalyst that makes the Cubs offense move - "you go, we go."
"I appreciate it," he said. "[Maddon] tells me that all the time and I definitely take it to heart and try to do what I can."