There are no sure bets in October, but the one big edge the Cubs seemingly have in this National League Division Series against the Nationals is closer Wade Davis.
History tells us he was made for the big stage, and now he's back again after a one-year absence.
In 23 postseason appearances with the Rays and the Royals, including one start in 2010 in Tampa Bay, Davis has compiled a sterling 0.84 ERA.
Ben Zobrist, who played with Davis on the Royals' 2015 championship team, said having a lockdown closer like Davis is a huge asset this time of the year.
"He's a stud," Zobrist said Tuesday after the Cubs' workout at Wrigley Field. "He's a guy that's been through it. He's got the postseason experience and everybody knows he's got ice in his veins.
"There's no moment that's going to get the best of him. It's just about execution, and we'll see if we can do it the way we're capable of doing it as a team. We're really confident in all our guys. Wade is a huge part of our bullpen and he's going to be a big piece if we're able to win this thing again."
After being acquired last winter for talented but injury prone outfielder Jorge Soler to replace Aroldis Chapman, Davis was as close to perfect as a closer could be in 2017, saving 32-of-33 opportunities.
He didn't allow an earned run in his first 18 appearances, and Davis' only blown save came on Sept. 23 in Milwaukee, when he served up two home runs while making his sixth appearance in nine days.
Davis admitted afterwards the heavy workload that week had his arm "dragging a bit," and manager Joe Maddon used him in only two one-inning appearances in the final week, ensuring he'd be well-rested for the NLDS.
Davis has done the job without much attention, befitting his low-key personality. In his first year pitching in the NL he finished the regular season with a 2.30 ERA, his highest since being converted to a reliever in 2014 in Kansas City, and 17th among relievers with 50 or more innings. Perhaps the most concerning stat is his 4.30 walks per 9 innings, which was 126th among relievers in the same category.
While Davis seldom has been haunted by those control issues, the Cubs would prefer a little less drama in October.
There was only one near-perfect postseason closer, the Yankees' Mariano Rivera, who posted a 0.70 ERA in 96 playoff games and went 42 of 47 in save opportunities. But even Rivera was human, and blew Game 7 of the 2001 World Series against Arizona, his only postseason loss.
The Cubs have had some dependable closers over the years, but rarely have they had one that dominated in both the regular season and the postseason. Some didn't perform under the bright lights of October, and other didn't get a chance because the offense was missing in action, making them irrelevant to the outcome.
Their best all-time closer was Lee Smith, but in the 1984 National League Championship Series, Smith served up the walk-off home run to Steve Garvey in Game 4 to send the series to a decisive Game 5, where they blew a 3-0 lead in a 6-3 loss.
Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams entered Game 5 of the 1989 NLCS in a 1-1 tie, and have up a sharp, two-run single to the Giants' Will Clark in a 3-2 loss that ended their season.
Rod Beck saved 51 games in 1998, but was pounded in the Cubs' Game 3 loss to the Braves in Atlanta's NL Division Series sweep. Joe Borowski didn't get a chance to save Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS because Mark Prior and the middle relievers gagged during an eight-run eighth inning.
Ryan Dempster was relegated to mop-up duty in one game of the 2007 NLDS, when the Cubs were swept by the Diamondbacks, and Kerry Wood did likewise in the 2008 NLDS, when the Cubs were swept by the Dodgers.
Hector Rondon had a couple saves in the 2015 NLDS against the Cardinals, but didn't have a save opportunity in the NLCS sweep by the Mets.
Chapman was perhaps the most dominant closer in Cubs' history in his two-month stint last year after being acquired from the Yankees, but he was up and down in the postseason. Chapman gave up the game-tying home run to Rajai Davis in Game 7 of the World Series, the one that had Cubs fans curled up in the fetal position for a brief moment.
Now the Cubs are counting on Davis, who will become a free agent after the World Series, to give them that untouchable closer Chapman was supposed to be.
Last year the pressure was squarely on the Cubs to end their drought, but that's no longer the case.
"We feel like the pressure is on them," Zobrist said. "We know what we're capable of. We weren't satisfied just because we won last year, and we're excited to get it on again and make a great run."