By Chris Emma--
ST. LOUIS (CBS) -- When Anthony Rizzo first arrived in Chicago in January 2012, he realized a role to come down the road. The Cubs hoped their promising first baseman would become the face of their culture change.
Rizzo entrenched himself in Cubs history. He formed friendships with icons like Ernie Banks and Billy Williams and developed an appreciation for the ballclub's rich tradition. Yet, he also came to realize its futility. Now, he's part of a movement to change that.
No Cubs team has ever clinched a series at Wrigley Field, a feat made possible for this group after its 6-3 win over the Cardinals in Game 2 of the NLDS on Saturday at Busch Stadium. Of course, no Cubs have won a World Series since 1908, reached the Fall Classic since 1945 and so on with miserable facts. Rizzo knows all about it.
"There's never been a team like this before, I don't think -- the way things have shifted -- with all due respects to the other teams," Rizzo said. "There have been some really good teams, but we have something here that's just something special."
These Cubs have carried the swagger of a champion since things came to fruition, with Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber joining the fold this year for a talented team. Momentum began to build as the Cubs reached a remarkable 97-win regular season.
Now, they are pushing through the postseason, with the NLDS tied 1-1. Yet, the advantage moves to the Cubs, because guess who's pitching on Monday night at Wrigley Field? Jake Arrieta, the Cy Young candidate who has reached historical dominance.
"He's been pitching," Joe Maddon said, "how can I even say it?
It's astounding how the course of a five-game divisional series can shift so quickly. St. Louis streets were filled with celebrations Friday night, with the locals out for Cubs blood. A 2-0 deficit for Chicago would've been simply brutal.
But the Cardinals were charged with two errors and five unearned runs in the second inning of Game 2, done in by their own mistakes combined with the Cubs' execution. Saturday night, it was the visitors celebrating before heading home to Chicago.
"It's huge," Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks said. "We're confident, we're energized, we're feeling really good about our situation."
Confidence wasn't lacking after the Cubs' 4-0 loss in Game 1 on Friday night. David Ross stated multiple times that the team was fine, Kyle Schwarber spoke of their resilience and Maddon kept his Joe Cool demeanor in saying there was no sweat for his side.
The Cubs backed it during Game 2, recovering from a 1-0 first-inning deficit with the five-run swing in the second. There were a pair of safety squeezes to plate runs, and Jorge Soler crushed a home run to the berm in center field. Energy in the dugout was buzzing as each run came home.
"We don't lack on celebrating with this team," Ross joked.
Getting past the Cardinals won't be easy for the Cubs. Their archrivals have been the gold standard in the National League for the past decade. This particular Cardinals team can find clutch hitting all throughout the roster and had a stellar starting rotation. Now, Adam Wainwright is back as a reliever too.
But the Cubs and Cardinals now face a best-of-three series, with two of those games in Chicago and one of them featuring Arrieta, the most unhittable pitcher in baseball. That's a good feeling to leave St. Louis with.
"I can't wait to see what Wrigley's like," Rizzo said.
The young leader Rizzo and his Cubs have every right to be confident. That's the culture change realized at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs are one step closer to knocking off the Cardinals, and they continue to look like something special.
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.
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