13 falls have come and gone since the last time the Cubs found themselves a game away from the World Series. Over that span, there hasn’t been much to smile about. And after coming so close, yet still being so far from realizing the goal of a National League Pennant, let alone a World Series, the anticipation leading up to this one has been dizzying.
But, when the 2016 Cubs take the field at Wrigley tonight, under the lights, they’ll be the best group this franchise has trotted out yet. That’s why I’ve got so much confidence in this club. Not only are there more supremely talented pieces than ever before, there is veteran leadership – championship experience – of which this franchise has so often been bereft.
Tonight, Albert Almora Jr. gets the start in right field over Jason Heyward. He’ll have big shoes to fill, but I’ve got faith in him because they do. Willson Contreras, he’ll bat 6th tonight. But, more importantly, he’ll be behind the plate, calling a game for Kyle Hendricks. Do I care that Contreras has only been in the big leagues a couple months? Not a bit. Because they believe in him.
The ‘they’ I speak of is the nucleus of this team. Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist, Joe Maddon. The leaders. The guys who have more invested in this team, this year, than we could ever know – despite all of our years of pain.
Bottomline is that if there’s a group to trust, its this one. These guys are certified.
Cubs take this one. Lock it in.