Maddon: 'A trap' in overvaluing NLCS rematch

June 19th, 2018
The Wrigley Field grounds crew prepares the infield tarp for an approaching storm before a game between the Dodgers and Cubs on Monday, June 18, 2018, in Chicago.AP

CHICAGO -- The Cubs and Dodgers have met in the National League Championship Series the past two Octobers, with each winning a series. Dealing with the Dodgers will be a good test for the Cubs, but manager Joe Maddon doesn't place more emphasis on this series.

"I really try to refrain from that because I think there's a trap in that," Maddon said Monday. "If you set it up that way and it doesn't go well, you think it's doom and gloom and it's not going to happen. I just can't subscribe to that theory. I much prefer that they think tonight is the most important game of the year and then when this one is over, tomorrow night's game is the most important game of the year."

Monday's rematch in the opener of a three-game series was postponed because of a limited power outage at Wrigley Field that was affecting the operation of the lights in right field and the forecast of continued rain in the area over the next several hours. The Cubs and Dodgers will play a split doubleheader on Tuesday, with the first game scheduled for 12:05 p.m. CT and the regular game to be played at 7:05 p.m.

Both teams are on a roll. In the last calendar month, dating to May 18, the Dodgers were 20-7 and the Cubs were 18-10, the two best records in the National League.

"It's not surprising at all what the Dodgers have done," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday. "They had a slow start, but they've been playing great baseball the last three, four weeks. It's too early to say [the Dodgers and Cubs are the two best NL teams], but over the last three years that's been the case.

"They probably look at the National League as going through us and we probably look at it as going through them. The way they're playing, a little bit banged up over the last three or four weeks, it feels like they're going to be a team to be reckoned with all year."

The Cubs actually added two Dodgers as free agents in the offseason in right-hander and closer . Hoyer said those moves had nothing to do with trying to weaken the Dodgers.

"Going back to playing against the Yankees when we were in Boston, when you focus on your rivals or when you focus on the teams you have to beat in free agency or in the offseason, you make mistakes," Hoyer said. "I think you have to play your game and make the moves you have to make, and if that has an impact on them that's fine. You definitely can't be a team that reacts to things or target the teams you're competing against."

Maddon says his players know what to do.

"They have not heard that from me -- 'This is a great big series, let's go, you've got to pick up your game,'" Maddon said. "From a sports psychology perspective, that's probably the worst thing you can do, and I agree with that."