By now, we all know that one iconic World Series drought will be broken once the last out is made. After a 7-2 clubbing the Indians put on the Cubs on Saturday night at Wrigley, Cleveland is just 27 outs away from breaking that drought and giving the city on Lake Erie it’s second Championship in 2016.
The Cubs on the other hand will look to make an epic comeback down 3-1. The Cubs big three pitchers will need to make it happen to keep the hope alive for Chicago and their long suffering fans. Jon Lester takes the bump tonight for game 5 and then they will have former Cy Young winner Jake Arietta going in Game 6 and Cy Young contender Kyle Hendricks going in Game 7 if necessary. As I stated earlier, the Indians still have to get those final 27 outs to preserve their first World Series championship since 1948.
The Cubs offense will need to wake up to keep the series alive. They will be going against Indians starter Trevor Bauer, whom they pounded for a game 2 victory 5-0. The Cubs hitters have been stagnant in their three losses, combining to score just two runs in their three losses.
Corey Kluber pitched Game 4 on short rest and the Cubs were hoping to jump on him early, and they did as they scored a first inning run as Dexter Fowler led the game off with a double and Anthony Rizzo drove him in with an RBI single.
Fowler added a home run off reliever Andrew Miller in the eighth inning for the first homer for the Cubs in the World Series since Phil Cavaretta jacked one in Game 1 of the 1945 series.
Those two runs were the only runs the Cubs were able to muster against Kluber who wasn’t as dominant as he was in his first start. The Cubs offense came up empty every time they had an opportunity to put pressure on the Indians.
“So we made mistakes. Absolutely, we made mistakes tonight,” manager Joe Maddon stated. “That was part of it. But then again, we just have to do more offensively to give ourselves a chance.”
Kluber allowed five hits, struck out six and walked one. He improved is playoff record to 4-1 with a 0.89 ERA in five starts.
Cubs starter John Lackey gave up a second inning lead off homer to Carlos Santana and tying the game at 1-1 and stunning the 41,000 plus of the Cubs faithful. The Indians never lost momentum from that point.
The good news for the Cubs lineup is that $184 million dollar right fielder Jason Heyward went 2-4 in his first World Series start after being benched for the first three games.
Kris Bryant had an uncharacteristic bad day in the field as he had two throwing errors, one leading to an unearned run that put the Indians up to stay.
Jason Kipnis on the other hand had a game he will never forget as he connected on his second playoff homer in the seventh inning and giving his team a 7-1 lead.
“We’ve got one more to get and it’s probably going to be the hardest victory of the year, but this is a special night for me and this team to take the first two here.” said Kipnis, who grew up in Northbrook, IL and great up a Cubs fan.
“We’re mortals. We’re baseball players. It’s what we live for,” Kipnis stated. “At this kind of stage it’s what we all dream about.”
The Cubs have obviously been struggling this series. You can see the pressure mounting at certain times and I think that Maddon needs to change things up a bit. Maybe put Baez at third, put Bryant in the outfield and put Zobrist back to second base as he did many times throughout the season. Willson Contreras, Baez and Addison Russell will need to come up big to stave off elimination.
With Lester on the mound tonight and David Ross potentially playing his last game, I see the Cubs bats coming alive against Bauer. I’m going to say the Cubs win this one handily and take the series back to Cleveland for Game 6.