#952 Cleveland Indiansvs.#951 Chicago Cubs
Written by Chris Kubala
It’s Game 6 of the World Series between two teams looking to claim their first championship in a very long time. The Chicago Cubs are on the road as they battle the Cleveland Indians on the shores of Lake Erie Tuesday night looking to force a decisive Game 7 Wednesday. The Tribe looks for their first World Series title since 1948. Staring elimination in the face in Game 5, the Cubs gritted out a nail biting 3-2 win to send the series back to Cleveland.
Chicago found itself in a 3-1 series hole and facing elimination at home Sunday night. Instead, they strung together a three run fourth inning to take the lead and got solid enough pitching to get the win. That sent the series to this matchup. Addison Russell (RBI), who drove in the go-ahead run in that fourth inning, was the lone Cub with two hits. Kris Bryant tied the score with a solo homer, a rocket to left center field. Anthony Rizzo smashed a double off the ivy and scored the go-ahead run while David Ross, potentially in the final start of his career, drove in the eventual winner with a sacrifice fly. Jon Lester evened his record at 1-1 in the World Series and is 3-1 in the postseason. He threw six innings, allowing two runs on four hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Aroldis Chapman threw a career high 2.2 scoreless innings, striking out four, to get the save.
Jake Arrieta takes the mound for his 35th start of the year overall and his fourth postseason start for the Cubs. The ace, who won the NL Cy Young last season, looks to extend Chicago’s season. Arrieta was 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA, a 1.084 WHIP and 190 strikeouts over 197.1 innings in the regular season. He is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP covering 16.2 innings in the playoffs. Arrieta took the win in his last start, which was Game 2 of the World Series in this ballpark. He threw 5.2 innings, allowing one run on two hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Chicago won that game, 5-1. Arrieta makes his sixth career start against the Indians and his second of this series. He is 2-1 with a 6.84 ERA and a 1.698 WHIP over 26.1 innings. Arrieta is 2-0 with a 4.82 ERA and a 1.114 WHIP over 11.2 innings in two starts at Progressive Field.
Cleveland missed a couple opportunities to put the series away and win their first title in 68 years. The Indians had the tying run on base in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings but couldn’t cash in. Rajai Davis (run, three stolen bases) was the lone Indians hitter with two hits in the loss. Cleveland totaled six hits in the game all together. Jose Ramirez hit a solo homer in the second to stake the Indians to a 1-0 edge. Francisco Lindor had a RBI single in the sixth to make it a one run game but struck out with the tying run on third with two out in the eighth. Trevor Bauer took the loss and fell to 0-2 in the World Series. He allowed three runs on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in four innings.
Josh Tomlin is on the mound for the Indians here as he logs his fourth postseason start after making 30 appearances, 29 starts in the regular season. He was 13-9 with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP over 174 innings of work in the regular season. Tomlin tends to be bitten by the long ball as he allowed 36 homers on the year. He is 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA and a 0.848 WHIP over 15.1 innings in the postseason. Tomlin took a no-decision in Game 3 of the World Series. He threw 4.2 scoreless innings, allowing two hits with a walk and a strikeout. Cleveland won the game, 1-0. Tomlin’s Game 3 start was the first time he faced the Cubs in his career. This is his 63rd appearance and 57th start at Progressive Field in his career. Tomlin is 27-20 with a 4.36 ERA and a 1.191 WHIP over 346.2 innings.
One has to wonder if Cleveland made a fatal error allowing the Cubs to get off the mat with their Game 5 triumph. Chicago now has Arrieta and, if the series goes to a Game 7, Kyle Hendricks pitching on full rest. Meanwhile, Cleveland has Tomlin going on three days rest and if the series reaches a seventh game, it will be ace Corey Kluber for the third time in his last four starts on short rest. Fatigue will have to take its toll eventually. Tomlin has thrown on three days rest just once as a starter in his big league career and that was back in 2010. With Kyle Schwarber back in the lineup for the Cubs with the DH back in play, you have to think Chicago is sending this one to a winner take all Game 7.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.