Back-to-back losses in Games 3 and 4 of the 112th World Series left the Chicago Cubs in a 3-1 deficit, on the verge of elimination, but with back-to-back wins in Games 5 and 6, the NL Champs evened things up and forced a Game 7 with the Indians, which will take place tonight in Cleveland, Ohio’s Progressive Field.
Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon told reporters after last night’s 9-3 win, that it was fitting that a series as competitive as this one has been is coming down to a decisive Game 7.
“It's been a very well-contested series,” Maddon said. “Both sides have played really good baseball. [There has] been outstanding pitching. [There has] been outstanding pitching all year. All of a sudden, our offense is having a resurgence, which we need.
“Again, of course, of course, we want to be the group that breaks the string, but you're probably right. It's just correct and apt that we'd go seven games.”
It’s going to be Corey Kluber on the mound for the Indians tonight, against Cubs’ righty Kyle Hendricks.
Cleveland’s skipper Terry Francona told reporters that he was happy to have his ace available.
“That's a good feeling, and I know they love their guy, too, as they should,” Francona said.
“It's Game 7. You've got two really, really good pitchers, and it will be exciting. Like I said before tonight's game, it's an honor to even be a part of it, and we're going to give it everything we have. I can't imagine a better group of guys to go through something like this with. I'm looking forward to it already.”
The lopsided nature of last night’s loss had one positive result for the AL champs, who were able to rest their relievers Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller and closer Cody Allen.
How big is it to have them available?
“I'll tell you after tomorrow night,” Francona said. “I mean, the idea was -- you always want to win the game, but the next best thing, and we've talked about this before we even started, was try to make them use pitching even in a loss. So we hung around enough, at least [Aroldis] Chapman had to pitch. You never know, maybe that helps us.”
The 2016 baseball season ends tonight (just ignore the forecasts of rain). Will the Indians win their first World Series in 68 years, or will the Cubs end the 108-year championship drought for Chicago? At 8:00 PM in Cleveland, we’ll find out...
BONUS QUOTE (from this afternoon’s pregame press conference):
Reporter: Would you call this a must-win game (laughter)?
TERRY FRANCONA: (Laughing) Boy, I never would have thought the day that I'd see that you brought levity to my day (laughter).
Here are the lineups for tonight’s game:
|CHICAGO CUBS||CLEVELAND INDIANS|
|Dexter Fowler - CF||Carlos Santana - DH|
|Kyle Schwarber - DH||Jason Kipnis - 2B|
|Kris Bryant - 3B||Francisco Lindor - SS|
|Anthony Rizzo - 1B||Mike Napoli - 1B|
|Ben Zobrist - LF||Jose Ramirez - 3B|
|Addison Russell - SS||Lonnie Chisenhall - RF|
|Willson Contreras - C||Rajai Davis - CF|
|Jason Heyward - RF||Coco Crisp - LF|
|Javier Baez - 2B||Roberto Perez - C|
|Kyle Hendricks - RHP||Corey Kluber - RHP|