Find a way to win a baseball game.
That’s all the Cubs can do Friday as they try to fight back from a 1-0 series deficit against the Marlins and force a winner-take-all Game 3 on Saturday.
Throughout the 60-game regular season, they had to be resilient to overcome some of their deficiencies. Now, staring elimination in the face, this veteran-heavy team will have to come up with a little more to save their season.
“I think we’ve done that as a group,” right fielder Jason Heyward said before Thursday’s weather postponement of Game 2. “We’ve shown that we can rise to that occasion, collectively. I think we just need to continue to try and keep pushing and give ourselves a chance to play more baseball.
“Throughout the whole year, we’ve obviously done enough in our division, a very tough division. . . . We’re gonna do our best to come out here and win. . . . But for me, it’s [that] we’ve got to keep playing more baseball, we’ve got to continue to relax. The way you settle in is, you get more opportunities.”
Aside from the big goal of simply winning, the Cubs will be trying to find some offense Friday and give their pitchers a chance to succeed. They were only able to score one run against Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara in Game 1 and will face similar stuff against rookie phenom Sixto Sanchez.
“In the playoffs, runs are usually at a premium, but we have to do a better job than we’ve been doing,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said.
Offense has been hard to come by in general for the Cubs in recent postseasons. They’ve scored three runs or more in just two of their last nine playoff games.
“The feeling is [we] want to do our part on the offensive side,” Heyward said. “You understand at times you face good pitching. It is what it is — you tip your cap. But again, the fact is, we obviously have to score runs to win, and we’d like to go out there and give [Yu Darvish] one run to work with and give ourselves a chance.
Added manager David Ross: “When we get ready for the fastball, it gives us the ability to command the strike zone a little better because you’re looking for it in one spot. But each one of these guys has their own plans of attack. These guys do a lot of homework. So you have to try to trust the ability of the guys in the lineup and just try to keep letting them know what you see.”
Darvish will have to play stopper if the Cubs are to move on. He has thrived in that role this year and is 6-1 with a 1.40 ERA in games after the Cubs lose.
“He’s almost like an artist,” said Jon Lester, who will be the starter Saturday if the Cubs force a Game 3. “He almost creates a painting every time he pitches. Like, ‘Maybe my slider’s not working today, so we’re going to go with my nasty split or this pitch that I invented two weeks ago that we don’t have a name for.’ ”