Chicago Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon told reporters in August that he thought his team matched up well with Los Angeles and he looked forward to playing the Dodgers in the NLCS if both teams made it, and beating the best team in the National League.
The Dodgers went through a rough stretch toward the end of the season, but made it to the Champion Series.
Maddon was asked yesterday how he liked the matchup between the Cubs and Dodgers now.
“I guess I like it equally as much,” Maddon said. “I like the fact that we're present.
“Meaning that we had not really played. I think when I was posed with that question we were kind of ascending, not quite where we needed to be yet. So it was more unbelievable from outside looking in. But you know what you've got. It's like you know what you've got in your house. You know what you've got.
“I figured once we got back to our normal [Addison Russell] being -- Addie coming back, Javy [Baez] moving back over, all that stuff would matter, and eventually we just started playing our game. The defense tightened up. The pertinent hits started to occur. But primarily the pitching got better and all of that really came together.
“So, yeah, I love it. Listen, you start the year defending champs, you go to Spring Training without the same expectations that you had the year you weren't the champs, and you get through a tough start. Then eventually the guys start showing up. I'll take it.”
Dodgers’ skipper Dave Roberts was asked about the same comments made by Maddon in his own pre-NLCS presser.
REPORTER: Back in August Joe Maddon said when you guys were at your peak that he really liked the matchup with you guys in the playoffs a lot.
DAVE ROBERTS: He's getting his wish.
Roberts was asked if that sort of comment from an opposing manager makes for good bulletin board material.
“Didn't think about it after the moment,” he said.
“Heard it, and he has a lot of confidence in his guys, as much as I have in our guys, so it's going to be a great series.”
Roberts was asked if he was pleased to have another shot at the Cubs, who knocked his team out of the NLCS in 2016.
“I don't know if it's pleased,” Roberts said. “I don't really -- I don't think we really cared who we faced. They're a good ballclub. So are the Nationals. So I think everyone's got their own opinions. But I really wasn't rooting for one particular team.
“But, yeah, they're the World Champs, the defending champs. So I guess they say to win a championship you've got to go through the current champions. So it's going to be a fun series. But we really weren't concerned with who won or not.”
The Cubs and Dodgers play Game 1 of their NLCS matchup at 8:00 PM EDT tonight in LA.