In-flight entertainment: Relievers call on Maddon

In-flight entertainment: Relievers call on Maddon

LOS ANGELES -- Joe Maddon was napping on the Cubs' charter flight from Chicago to Los Angeles when Aroldis Chapman tapped him on the shoulder. The closer wanted the manager to join the relievers in the back of the plane.

"My wife, Jaye, was sitting next to me," Maddon said Monday. "I'd had enough wine to go to sleep, and Aroldis comes up and pokes me on the shoulder and said, 'We want you in the back,' which is a compliment and an honor.

NLCS Game 3: Tonight at 8 p.m. ET/7 CT on FS1

"So I go back there, and when I've had too much wine to drink, my Spanish gets a little bit better, because you lose that trepidation about saying the right or wrong thing. I went back there and we had a great time. All of them were sitting there and it was a lot of fun. That's the second time Chappy's come and got me to walk in the back. And I'm honored. I'm totally honored when the boys call me back there."

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 15 CHC 8, LAD 4 video
Gm 2 Oct. 16 LAD 1, CHC 0 video
Gm 3 Oct. 18 LAD 6, CHC 0 video
Gm 4 Oct. 19 CHC 10, LAD 2 video
Gm 5 Oct. 20 CHC 8, LAD 4 video
Gm 6 Oct. 22 CHC 5, LAD 0 video

Reliever Pedro Strop said they wanted to just talk baseball after the Cubs lost, 1-0, to the Dodgers in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. The best of seven series, which resumes tonight in Los Angeles, is now tied at one win apiece.

"It was just to let him know not to worry -- everything's OK," Strop said.

So, how is Maddon's Spanish?

"It was pretty good," Strop said, laughing.

Mature approach
One of the things that has impressed veteran catcher Miguel Montero about the young Cubs is how well they can move on after a tough loss.

"I've seen the guys move on, say, 'OK, we lost, we'll get them tomorrow,'" Montero said. "That's a really mature attitude. If you're only 22, 23, 24 years old and have that attitude, I want to see them when they're 28 -- it'll be impressive. We lost, tip our caps, they did a great job and we have to move on. I'm pretty sure everybody can't wait for [Game 3]."

After smacking a pinch-hit grand slam in Game 1, Montero struck out in his pinch-hit at-bat in Game 2.

"It's easy to get used to good stuff, right?" he said, smiling and showing his ability to move on as well. "When you fly a private plane and then you have to go in coach, that's tough. When you hit a homer and you come up the next day, people expect you to go in the private plane, and you strike out, so you go back in coach."

Dealing with the shadows
Tonight's game will start at 5:08 p.m. local time, which means there could be some shadows on the field at Dodger Stadium that could make it difficult for the hitters.

Arrieta on pitching in shadows

"I really think it can be difficult to pick up spin, especially, you know, once the shadows kind of creep in between the mound and home plate," Jake Arrieta said. "From a pitching perspective, you want to be aggressive early because of the fact that it is a little bit more difficult to pick up some rotations and spin on pitches when the shadows are kind of in between, and as they start to creep out to the mound. I think really it's an advantage for the pitchers early on in the game."

How does Javier Baez feel about hitting with the shadows?

"It's the same for both teams," he said.

Extra bases
• Baez has hit in all six Cubs postseason games, and has tied the team record for longest hitting streak to open a postseason, joining Moises Alou in 2003 and Mickey Livingston in 1945.

• Sunday's 1-0 loss marked the fifth time since 1903 the Cubs were shut out in a postseason game.

• Cubs pitchers have gone 3-for-10 with two homers and six RBIs in the postseason.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.