(CBS) After the Cubs raced out of the All-Star break by winning 14 of their first 17 first in the second half, there was much made about whether they were “back.”
Willson Contreras said just that, and Jake Arrieta followed by emphasizing that was the feeling of the team’s clubhouse as a whole.
On Thursday, Kris Bryant once again reflected the growing confidence of a team that has opened up a 3.5-game lead in the NL Central and is a season-high 11 games over .500 at 68-57, saying the Cubs “know we’re the best.”
“Just as long as we’re winning games and we find our way into the playoffs, anything can happen,” Bryant said in an interview with Dan Bernstein and Anthony Herron on 670 The Score on Thursday afternoon. “I think what we got going on right now, we’re heading in the right direction. Guys are having great at-bats. The pitchers are doing their thing. As long as we’re out there having fun, I think that’s the biggest thing. Last year, we had a lot of fun. I think that brought out a ton of wins. I’m glad you guys saw the whole interview scene with Ian (Happ impersonating an on-air interview during the game) and all that, because that’s what we need to get back to — is just having fun and not really worrying about what other people, what other teams are doing. Because at the end of the day, I think we all know that we’re the best team out there. We feel that, and we have that confidence in ourselves. So that’s what we’ve gotten back to, and I think the results are showing.”
The Cubs have the third-best record in the National League, trailing the Dodgers (89-36) and the Nationals (75-49). Should it finish strong and win the division, Chicago will almost certainly open up on the road against Washington in the best-of-five NLDS.
Listen to Bryant’s full interview below. He also calls reserve infielder Tommy La Stella the team’s “heartbeat” and discusses how infielder Javier Baez wows the Cubs players themselves, just as he does fans.