Don't Jump Yet, Cubs Fans

My colleague Mr. Brinson is having no trouble egging Cubs fans towards the ledge after their 7-2 loss to the Dodgers after Game 1 of the NLDS tonight. It's true, it was an ugly loss and a home loss in the first two games of a short series can always be bad news. I can see why this is worrisome. But I'm here to tell you not to panic yet. Seriously.

So you're down 1-0. You mean to tell me that the best team in the National League all year can't win three of four from the Dodgers? The team that needed Manny Ramirez and a complete Diamondbacks collapse to make the playoffs? Yeah, the Dodgers went 17-8 in September, but the Cubs were 20-8 in August. Every starting position player has an OPS+ of 92 or better. They've got the best lineup top to bottom in the NL, even when Fukudome starts.

Carlos Zambrano starts tomorrow at a packed Wrigley against 24-year-old Chad Billingsley. Win that and it's like today never happened. If tomorrow's game goes like this one, you have permission to push the panic button. Not before. Until then, the Cubs only need three wins in four games against a team that they're better than to advance. I know that "they're the Cubs," but that doesn't actually mean anything. Repeat after me: curses are not real. This series is not close to over, so please stop acting like it is.

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