Chicago Cubs pitcher Aroldis Chapman, right, and catcher Willson Contreras celebrate the final out in a 5-1 win against the Cleveland Indians in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, at Progressive Field in Cleveland. The Cubs’ win evens the series, 1-1. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
By BEN HANSEN
With the World Series tied 1-1 between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs, the Cubs return to their Wrigley Field den to play game three of the Fall Classic on Friday, October 28.
There is a historical significance in this matchup: the combined World Series drought between these two teams is 174 years. To put it in perspective, the Indians last won a World Series in 1948 during the Truman administration and the Cubs last won in 1908 while Theodore Roosevelt was in office.
In game one at Progressive Field, the spotlight was on Corey Kluber as he outdueled October ace Jon Lester through six shutout innings.
“There’s a fire though that burns in there that maybe people don’t see,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said on Kluber (NJ.com).
Roberto Perez had two home runs with four runs batted in, Francisco Lindor had three hits, AL Championship series MVP Andrew Miller escaped a bases loaded no out jam in the seventh apart of a 46-pitch effort, and the Indians won at home 6-0.
With three more wins needed to capture their first championship in 68 years, the Indians feel the pressure to finally bring glory to their city. The Cleveland curse was broken by the Cavaliers this past June, but that does not take anything away from the importance of this series for the Indians.
“To win a championship here after all of this time, that would be pretty cool,” the Indians’ first baseman Mike Napoli said to CBS Sports. “Friends from here have let me know that if the Indians ever won a World Series, the city would be out of control. It would be bananas.”
Game two on Wednesday night was a different story as the Cubs cruised to a 5-1 win. Last year’s National League Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta was on the bump for Chicago, no-hitting the Indians through five innings to go along with six strikeouts. The 30-year old took his no-hitter all the way into the sixth inning when Cleveland finally managed to scramble a run across the board.
“You really want to try to continue to pile up outs as often as you possibly can,” Arrieta said. Whether they get a hit or not really doesn’t affect the way you continue to approach that lineup, especially with a five-run lead.”
That five-run lead was attributed to the awoken Cub’s offense after failing to score in game one. Lately, the hottest player has been Ben Zobrist, who cranked a fifth inning triple, bringing in Anthony Rizzo.
Unlike Zobrist, who’s been playing on a regular basis, Kyle Schwarber had been out of the Cub’s lineup for six months until Tuesday night when Chicago activated him. He came up big with a pair of runs batted in.
Next is game three is on Friday night, October 28 at 5:08 pm Pacific Time.