The Chicago Cubs won 103 games this season. They were the best team in baseball and began the playoffs by winning four of five.
Well, they have since hit a wall. The Cubs haven’t scored a single run in 23 of their last 24 innings, including 18 straight. They now trail the Dodgers 2-1 in the NLCS, with a pivotal Game 4 coming Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.
Are the Cubs in trouble?
“Well, look, during the season if this happens, I’d say it’s no biggie, but right now, I’m concerned,” MLB Network analyst Cliff Floyd said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “The Dodgers are being smart about this. You got another lefty going tonight.’
That would be 20-year-old Julio Urias, who still start for the Dodgers against 37-year-old John Lackey.
“I don’t know what Urias’ plan is when you talk about attack, but when you watch the last couple days when you’ve been throwing up goose eggs, you should be worried about the bats because they’re just not swinging it,” Floyd said. “Joe Maddon is trying to figure out an offensive lineup as opposed to a lineup that’s been dominant, whether you’ve been on offense or defense, the whole season.”
If it’s July, the Cubs have time to work through these kinks. In October, they don’t.
“You don’t have time,” Floyd said. “When you have a shot at putting your foot on somebody’s throat, you continue. That’s just the game. When you have momentum, it tends to stick around – good and bad. The bad part about momentum is you can get a little complacent and cocky, but I don’t think the Dodgers have that in them. The good part is the way they’re playing the game, they’re getting contributions from everybody.”
Five different Dodgers have recorded RBIs over the last two games. Three have hit home runs. Josh Reddick and Joc Pederson combined for three steals in Game 3, and the Dodgers ran the hit-and-run to perfection.
“They’re aggressive on the base paths,” Floyd said. “You see Dave Roberts last night put Puig in motion, Joc Pederson hits the ball down the left-field line – all these things are what the Cubs did to their opponents this season. So when you have a team slumping and you’re able to do some little things that the Dodgers are doing, you look at the Cubs and how they seemed to be pressing. It’s no more loosey-goosey and feeling good. It’s time to (say) ‘Let’s go’ or you’re going to be fishing soon.”