Cubs' confidence intact, but bats could use a wake-up call in NLCS Game 3

On the Cubs‘ flight to Southern California in the wee hours of Monday, manager Joe Maddon had no trouble unwinding after Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw changed the complexion of the National League Championship Series.

“I was dead asleep on my seat, my wife, Jaye, sitting next to me,” Maddon said Monday at Dodger Stadium. “I’d had enough wine to go to sleep.”

His players, however, were another story in the rear of the plane. Reliever Pedro Strop sensed uneasiness after the 1-0 loss in Game 2 at Wrigley Field, especially among his fellow pitchers. So Strop turned the tables on Maddon and put his manager in a save situation.

“As a good teammate, one of the guys who’s been here the longest, I just wanted to make sure everybody stayed calm because that was a really good baseball game,” Strop said Monday. “So I told ‘Chappy’ (Aroldis Chapman), ‘Go get Joe.’ I wanted guys to listen to Joe and interact and relax and not think we’re in a tough situation just because we lost one game.”

As requested, Chapman approached Maddon, who was in a deep slumber. Trying for a six-out save is nothing for a closer compared with the pressure of waking up his sleeping manager.

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