Rarely is the glass half-full with Cubs manager Joe Maddon. Two-thirds full? Sure. Three-fourths? Even better. Overflowing? What the heck, let’s party. It’s hard to see emptiness when everything’s-gonna-be-all-right is staring back at you.

But everything isn’t going to be all right. Not this time. The Cubs are on the verge of being swept in the National League Championship Series for the second time in three years. It has been done before, but — let’s be real here — there’ll be no coming back from down 3-0.

Before a hideous 6-1 defeat in Game 3, Maddon painted some feel-good pictures with the Cubs back at Wrigley Field and fighting for their playoff lives against the Dodgers. The Cubs hadn’t been hitting — at all — but how quickly that could change. At least, that was the essential concept.

“My perspective or perception is that we need to hit a couple balls hard in a row, successful hits, and then move on from there and see what happens,” he said.

Successful hits? Are there any other kind?

Maddon even went the extra mile to put a smiley face on Kris Bryant’s skeletal postseason batting average by making a big deal out of a fly ball in Game 2 that came up short.

“He thought he got that,” Maddon said. “I thought he got it, too, and it just [didn’t] carry out. There’s an example — that ball goes over the wall, and it could change his whole outlook. It’s a confidence issue. A hitting-the-ball-hard-on-a-consistent-basis issue.”
This is 2017 in the home-run-drunk major leagues: A fly ball that doesn’t carry over the fence is a you-didn’t-really-hit-it issue.