Hold everything, the Cubs are not dead yet. We are going to see a November fall classic after all.
Starter Jon Lester got off to a good start with a mix of cutters, change ups, fastballs, curves and sliders. But after he struck out the side in the first inning, he made a mistake to Jose Ramirez on a 92 fastball who hit into the left field bleachers. After a very good start over the first three innings, Indians starter Trevor Bauer gave up a tying home run to Kris Bryant. He then allowed the next three batters to reach base before he got an out as the Cubs took the lead 3-1 in the 4th inning.
Lester took that two-run run lead and managed to get out of the top of the fifth after a leadoff double. But this is why the very wealthy Cub’s organization is paying him all that money. He needed a big time game. It wasn’t pretty but he got outs when he needed to get them.
I have been very critical of Joe Maddon in the past and accusing him of over managing and wearing a path to the mound. Removing Lester after 90 pitches and six innings was the right move. Lester was getting every Cubs fan nervous with his unwillingness to throw to bases with runners on. You could see that he was losing his concentration and it was only a matter of time before he would start giving up runs.
Carl Edwards faced two batters and was removed with the tying run on second. Aroldis Chapman came in and added to the drama as he pitched in and out of trouble facing 10 batters in a seven out 2 and 2/3 innings.
Good bye Charlie shut the lights out… finish. Unusually long outing for him, but he got the job done. Hats off to David Ross for throwing out a key runner while dealing with Lester’s yips and then driving in the winning run.
Now as the series moves back to Cleveland, how odd is it that the Cubs trailing 3 games to 2 seem to have the upper hand in the up coming games. With Jake Arrieta to pitch Tuesday vs Josh Tomlin there is the possibility of seeing a game seven with Indians’ Cory Kluber making his third start versus his third different starter from the Cubs in Kyle Hendricks. Tomlin needs to do his 58 pitch thing into the fifth inning and let the lights out so the Indian bullpen can finish it off. That is provided they get to Arrieta. and have a lead.
Tomlin was a mystery to the Cubs in game 3, so it won’t be easy for them either The Cubs will finally get to have Kyle Schwarber in the lineup again as the DH and he could the the game changer. Should be fun to watch.
This is an outstanding World Series. That old cliche of “Too bad someone has to lose “ appropriately applies to this series.
Editor’s Note: William Coppola just completed his 40th year in the game of baseball. He has been a coach, instructor and last week completed his third season as an associate advanced scout with the Atlanta Braves organization.