I took the opportunity on Friday during the day to make a trek down to Wrigleyville to soak in the sights and sounds of World Series baseball. The whole neighborhood was packed from early on in the day and the atmosphere was electric. People were walking around decked out in Cubs gear, high giving each other, taking photos around the stadium and day drinking at the establishments in the area. I event snagged a Game 3 program during my sight seeing.
Later that evening at Wrigley Field marked the first time a World Series game has been played at the iconic stadium in 71 years. With the wind blowing out, temperatures unseasonably warm and Cy Young contender Kyle Hendricks on the mound things were looking to go the Cubs way.
Even with those ideal conditions the Cubs had problems all game going 0-7 with runners in scoring position and mustering only 5 hits against 4 Indians pitchers.
Josh Tomlin pitched 4 2/3 solid innings giving up only two hits on the night before giving way to the unhittable Andrew Miller. Miller faced four batters and struck out three of them to stymie the Cubs bats in the middle innings.
Hendricks didn’t fare to well but blanked the Tribe in his 4 1/3 innings pitched. He gave up 6 hits and 2 walks in his first World Series start. He had to get out of trouble in the first and fourth as he gave up two hits in each inning but got out of each jam with no damage.
The only score of the game came in the Indians half of the 7th as Roberto Perez led off with a single off Carl Edwards Jr. Tyler Naquin sacrificed Michael Martinez to second who came in to pinch run for Perez. Martinez took third on a wild pitch by Edwards. He then walked Rajai Davis to put runners on first and third. Coco Crisp pinch hit for Miller and hit a broken bat flair to right field, scoring Martinez. Jorge Soler threw out Davis trying to get to third. Edwards then got Jason Kipnis to ground out to end the threat.
“The funds are at a premium and we need to get them when we can and fortunately for us, we got one today and they didn’t,” stated Crisp.
The Cubs had one last chance in the bottom of the 9th as Anthony Rizzo led off with a single, Chris Coghlan then pinch ran for Rizzo. Ben Zobrist struck out swinging, Willson Contreras then grounded to third as Coghlan was running on the pitch. Much maligned and $184 million dollar free agent Jason Hayward then had his opportunity to change the opinions of those bashing him on his sub par season as he came to bat with 2 outs and the game on the line. Heyward smashed a shot to first base that short hopped Mike Napoli that and he was unable to handle the hard hit ball. That put runners on first and third with two outs. Heyward then stole second without a throw leaving the game up to Javier Baez. Baez ended the threat and the game swinging at a high fast ball.
Game 4 on Saturday pits game 1 winner Corey Kluber of the Indians against World Series tested John Lackey in what would be close to a must win for the Cubs.
This was a tough loss for the Cubs as they squandered a big opportunity to go up 2-1 in the series. Not having Hendricks on his game and the offense not showing up when the conditions were perfect for a potentially big night was rough. But then again, the Cubs have seen this story unfold before since they were down 2-1 against the Dodgers and won the series.
This Cubs team doesn’t give up but they also will need to be more patient tomorrow night and take the bat off their shoulders against Kluber when down in the count. This is once again a 7 game series, not a best of 3 or best of 5.