The bomb in the first inning by Cubs’ Kris Bryant with two outs was not a good start for Cleveland Indians starter Josh Tomlin who threw one too many curves to the young Cubs All-star. The last curve being a hanging meatball that Bryant deposited deep into the left field stands. Like I said, not a good start. But what happened next was something out of the cuckoo’s nest.
Center fielder Tyler Naquin and right fielder Lonnie (I need a GPS to find the ball) Chisenhall looked like my Aunt Stella and her son Johnnie doing the three step cha cha at a wedding allowing an easy out to end the inning into a two-run run double. What the heck was that all about?
Naquin playing center field has been involved with near misses four times now in this series. The 25 -year old rookie has just 116 regular season games under his belt and It looks like he is being bullied in the outfield by those veterans. That play kick started the monsters of the midway.
Give credit to the Cubs, they did their homework and figured out Tomlin. They waited on his curveballs, many were hanging curveballs. Then Dan Otero comes in to pitch and throws three straight 89 mph sinkers. The last one in the middle of the plate to 22 year old Addison Russell, who hit it 434 feet into the center field seats for a grand salami. Putting the Cubbies up seven to nothing in the third inning. Game over.
With all the action by the Cub hitters, their starter Jake Arrieta was somewhat forgotten. The Indians didn’t get a hit until the fourth inning off of the former Cy Young righty. He came to win. He had outstanding command of his sinkers. Matter of fact, Arrieta threw so many sinkers he could be a submarine captain when he leaves baseball. But alas, he reached his magic number around 95 pitches where that little hypnotist in his head started saying: “Your arm is getting tired, your fingers are getting weaker. You can no longer move your legs.”
He walked Chisenhall on 7 pitches who he has owned this series. He ended with 102 pitches, two runs, 3 hits, 3 walks and nine strikeouts. Just what the Cubs needed. The whole Cubs team delivered tonight with 13 hard hits, three home runs, 9 runs scored. Bryant goes 4- for- 5, Anthony Rizzo 3- for- 5, and outstanding pitching as they limited the Indians to just six hits.
Manager Joe Maddon seemed to panic having to bring in Aroldis Chapman in the seventh with two outs and a five run lead. Could this move come back to haunt him in the Game 7 finale Wednesday night? He threw two pitches to one batter in the 7th, although it looked like he jammed his knee covering first for the last out.
Good fielding by Javier Baez on a double play to end the 8th inning helped to keep Chapman’s pitch count low at 20 pitches.
For the Indians, the fact that they didn’t have to use Andrew Miller for three days plus Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw for two days, will make for a tougher Indians staff for Game 7.
So get ready for a good one and all hands on deck, the 38th time a World Series goes to a decisive and final game and one team will end the long World Series victory drought. Cory Kluber vs Kyle Hendricks with everyone available out of the bullpen. Who ever scores first could be in the driver’s seat for a champagne drive to history.
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.