This series has been as good as advertised through the first five games. Cleveland was able to take the first two games at Wrigley Field to take a commanding 3-1 lead. Chicago staved off elimination in Game 5 to force the series back east to Progressive Field.
Chicago isn’t out of the woods just yet, but did exactly what they needed to do in order to win three straight and the series. Win Game 5.
Cleveland should not fear or worry, especially taking a 3-2 series lead back home, where their faithful fans are awaiting, ready to rock and roll yet again.
In Game 3, both pitching staffs pitched well and Cleveland came away with a 1-0 win. Coco Crisp plated the games’ only run with an RBI single, scoring Michael Martinez.
Josh Tomlin allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out one in 4 2/3 innings. Terry Francona decided to go to Andrew Miller with two outs in the fifth. He got out of the inning and then went on to pitch in the sixth. Of the four batters he faced, he got three of them out via the strikeout. He didn’t allow a run, which is the norm for him this postseason. Francona elected to pinch-hit for Miller in the seventh with two runners on and it paid off with the Crisp RBI single.
The good pitching performance from Tomlin was extra special for him as his dad was in attendance. In August, Jerry Tomlin, Josh’s father, was paralyzed and nearly died after a circulatory malformation. Despite not being able to walk and facing an uphill battle for his life, he was able to watch his son pitch in a World Series game, and pitch well at that. That’s one of those feel-good stories sports often takes us on.
Bryan Shaw took over in the seventh, pitching 1 2/3 innings allowing two hits and striking out one. Cody Allen converted the four-out save, giving up just one hit and striking out three.
Kyle Hendricks pitched well for the Cubs, scattering six hits, two walks and six strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings on the bump. The Chicago bullpen allowed two hits and a walk, and the games’ only run in 4 2/3 innings of work.
For as close as Game 3 was, Cleveland made sure that wouldn’t be the case in Game 4, winning 7-2.
Chicago struck first in the bottom of the first when Anthony Rizzo hit an RBI single, scoring Dexter Fowler. The Tribe wouldn’t trail for long, however.
Carolos Santana tied the game at 1-1 with a solo home run in the top of the second. Later in the inning, starting pitcher Corey Kluber hit an infield single that scored Lonnie Chisenhall from second. Speaking of Kluber, he once again pitched on three days’ rest and was absolutely brilliant. He gave up one run on five hits while striking out six over six innings.
In the top of the third, the Tribe extended their lead to 3-1 when Francisco Lindor hit an RBI single, scoring Jason Kipnis. Chisenhall hit a sacrifice fly in the top half of the sixth to put Cleveland up 4-1. Then, in the seventh, Kipnis put the game on ice with a three-run home run.
Also in the seventh inning is when it became Miller time. In his two innings of work, Miller allowed his first run of the postseason when Fowler hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth to make the score 7-2, but it wouldn’t be enough. Miller struck out two in his two innings. Cody Allen was not needed with the game out of reach, so Dan Otero came on in the ninth, allowing just a hit.
John Lackey did not fare too well in his Game 4 start. He pitched five frames, giving up four hits, three runs and a walk, but did strike out five.
With Chicago facing elimination in Game 5, in front of the Wrigley faithful, they came through and forced a Game 6 back in Cleveland. Jon Lester, who is known for his postseason brilliance, stepped up when his team needed him the most. He pitched six innings, scattering four hits, while giving up two runs and striking out five. Carl Edwards Jr. pitched just one out of the seventh innings, giving up a hit with his team up 3-2.
Aroldis Chapman came into the game and converted an eight-out save, throwing straight gas, with many of his 42 pitches going over 100 miles per hour. He gave up just a single hit and struck out four.
Jose Ramirez gave Cleveland a 1-0 lead in the top of the second with a solo home run off Lester. Then the Cubs had a big fourth inning.
Kris Bryant got things started with his first World Series home run, a solo one to tie the game. Later in the inning, Addison Russell hit an RBI single, scoring Rizzo before David Ross hit a sacrifice fly scoring Ben Zobrist. The Cubbies led 3-1 after four.
Lindor made things more interesting in the top half of the sixth with an RBI single, scoring Rajai Davis. Unfortunately for Cleveland, that would be all the closer they would get. Trevor Bauer continued to struggle, pitching four innings, allowing all three Chicago runs on six hits. He did strike out seven, but that wasn’t enough.
Now, the two teams travel back to Cleveland for another elimination game. That doesn’t bode well for the Cubs, as they have lost their previous four games when heading back on the road, facing an elimination game. Jake Arrieta will get the ball in hopes of keeping his team alive and he will square off against Tomlin.
For the Cubs, they have to continue to fight or their memorable season won’t end the way they want it to. For Cleveland, they have to stay focused and use the home-field to their advantage. IF you have no rooting interest in the series and are a fan of baseball, you will be hoping for the best two words in all of sports; Game 7.
Game 6 will be Tuesday night with a lot on the line. Either Cleveland will be declared champions or the Cubs will continue their uphill battle.