Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Cubs Bats Comes to Life, Force Game 7 in Cleveland

Series tied 3-3

There will be a Game 7 after all. 

The Chicago Cubs punched their ticket to the Fall Classic's deciding game with a thunderous 9-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field in Cleveland. This sets up this tantalizing scenario: Either the Cubs 108 years drought will end, or the Indians 68 year drought will end. That is it. 9 innings, 27 outs, 1 Game will decide which suffering franchise will get to celebrate! 

The Cubs put this game away early. A combination of a slumbering offense finally awaking for the Cubs, and an Indians team that was clearly pressing, the Cubs jumped out to a 3-0 first inning lead. Kris Bryant who hit a monster home run in Game 5 to help push the Cubs to victory, got the party started on Tuesday night with a long solo home run over the giant left field wall for the first run of the day. 

Three batters later, Addison Russell skied one to left, but center fielder Tyler Naquin got crossed up with right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall, and the ball bounced between the two outfielders, allowing two runners to score to make it 3-0. Russell was credited with a base hit and two RBI. 

Fast forward to the third inning, and Russell left little doubt that we would see a Game 7 when he launched a Dan Otero fastball over the left-center field wall for a grand slam homer to put the Cubs up fat, 7-0. 

That was all the offense Jake Arrieta needed. While he didn't have his best stuff, Arrieta gutted out 5.2 innings, allowing two runs on three hits, while striking out nine. He improved to 2-0 in this World Series. 

Once again, the Cubs had to ask their closer Aroldis Chapman to go long relief, and the Dominican flame thrower was up to the challenge. Two nights after throwing 42 pitches over 2.2 innings, he gave the Cubs and 1.1 innings of shutout relief. Joe Maddon admitted that he would pulled Chapman before the ninth inning, had he had more time to get the pen warmed up after the Anthony Rizzo two-run home run. Chapman threw 20 pitches on the night, and is said to be ready for Game 7. 

For the Indians, dropping the past two games is surely disappointing, but they have a clear pitching advantage heading into Game 7. Not only will their ace Cory Kluber get the start on short rest, but Andrew Miller and Cody Allen did not pitch at all last night, meaning that both have at least two days rest under their belt. 

Expect a true classic later this evening. 

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