What an amazing start by Corey Kluber in game one of this World Series. He had the Cubs hitters very confused with a mix of two seam fastballs that looks like it will be a ball and then tails back over the plate. A nasty, down in the dirt curve ball and an equally tight late breaking slider in setting a record with eight strikeouts for his first nine outs.
His line of six innings plus one batter, 88 pitches, 59 for strikes, 4 hits, no runs, no walks and 9 strikeouts was a masterpiece. Jon Lester got off to a good start until a hit by Francisco Lindor a stolen base and two walks. A squibbler to 3rd scoring a run and then he hits Brandon Guyer on a 0-2 pitch to force in the second run. He was not happy with some of the calls by home plate umpire Larry Vanover and had to wait for Carlos Santana to be treated for a cramp at second base.
His problem with not being able to throw to first base with a runner on, is a case of the yips that could become a game changer in this series. In the third inning he had Lindor picked off by 10- feet and never threw the ball to first. The home run he gave up to Roberto Perez that looked like a Cruise Missile headed for Baghdad, had an exit speed of 112.9 mph. The hardest ball hit off of Lester all year. His overall command was inconsistent as he would make some hitters look confused and then he would groove one.
Jon Lester threw 97 pitches, 57 for strikes. That normally would be good in the regular season, but this is the World Series and he has to be better than that. Andrew Miller dominated again. Like, what did you expect? But the way Kluber was pitching the Cubs would rather face Miller and take their chances with him.
The Cubs did show very good plate discipline in laying off Millers’ out of the strike zone nasty sliders. Getting Miller to throw 46 pitches, the most he threw all year in a game. Hitting stars tonight, Lindor 3- for-4 with a double, Jose Ramirez 3- for- 4 and catcher Roberto Perez with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs do not appear to be overwhelmed by where they are. The Cubs Ben Zobrist, 3- for- 4 could be trouble for the Tribe.
So the Indians attacked and the Cubs circled the wagons. The battle is not over and the Cubs have called for reinforcements in Kyle Schwarber, who needs the series to go long for him to get back to form. Lets not start with the “Goat” ba ha ha has” just yet. The Cubs ran into a buzzsaw in Kluber Tuesday night. But there are more games ahead and their pitching line-up of Jake Arrietta, Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey followed be Jon Lester again will give them the edge. Those guys could wear the Indians out.
Note: If you haven’t seen Cubs Joe Maddon manage, get used to all the pitching changes he will make. TV loves it when he comes to the mound, because he makes almost all of them in the middle of an inning. More commercials and a longer game. Also, game 2 Wednesday night will start at 7pm EST because of the threat of rain in Cleveland.
Better rain than snow!