The Cubs have yet to find their footing in the NLCS following their epic Division Series win over Washington, and now face elimination as early as Wednesday after dropping Game 3 at home to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Their quest to get back into the series hasn’t been helped by their fearsome middle of the order struggling to produce – a group that most notably includes Bryant, who’s been held to a .250 average with no walks and three strikeouts in 12 at-bats against Dodgers pitching.
Following the Game 3 defeat, Bryant expressed his belief that the Cubs may have emptied their tanks in D.C. to defeat the Nationals, something that’s now showing itself in their performance against the Dodgers.
“It was pretty draining,” Bryant said of the NLDS, according to Kevin Powell of WGN Radio 720. “Some good games there. It was pretty taxing for our bullpen and pitchers, too.”
“I wouldn’t say emotionally or mentally, but I think physically, yeah (we’re drained),” the 25-year-old added, per Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times. “Obviously, some guys are tired. It has been a really long year. We’ve had some long days and stuff like that.”
But it doesn’t appear Bryant’s theory is being embraced by teammates, including first baseman Anthony Rizzo – a Cubs star whose bat, like Bryant’s, hasn’t shown up this October.
“I’m 28 years old. I could run laps around this place right now,” Rizzo told Greenberg. “Got a great job for a living, to play baseball. So to sit here and say anyone’s drained, I’ve got to disagree with that.”
Bryzzo’s October outage
With their season now hanging by a thread, the Cubs have to shake off whatever’s got them in this funk and win four times in a row against a Dodgers team that’s undefeated in October, beginning Wednesday in Game 4.