November 1, 2016

World Series 6: Cubs 9, Cleveland 3

Cubs      - 304 000 002 - 9 13  0
Cleveland - 000 110 001 - 3  6  1
Addison Russell drove in six runs, with a two-run double and a grand slam, as the Cubs forced a Game 7 in Cleveland. Tomorrow night's game will be the third Game 7 in the last six seasons; the 2011 and 2014 World Series also went the distance.

Jake Arrieta (5.2-3-2-2-9, 102) pitched very well, although he did leave the bases loaded in the fourth. He was pulled after issuing a two-out walk in the sixth.

Before that, though, Chicago battered Josh Tomlin (2.1-6-6-0-1, 48). Tomlin began the game by getting two outs on only five pitches, but Kris Bryant (4-for-5) homered to left. After singles by Anthony Rizzo (3-for-5) and Ben Zobrist (2-for-4), Russell lifted a fly ball to right center. There was miscommunication between center fielder Tyler Naquin and right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall and the ball fell untouched between them, and two runs scored.

In the third, Kyle Schwarber walked and after Bryant popped to right, Rizzo and Zobrist singled, loading the bases. Cleveland manager Terry Francona yanked Tomlin and brought in Dan Otero. Russell blasted Otero's 2-0 pitch to left-center for the 19th grand slam in World Series history. Russell's six RBI also tied a World Series record (Bobby Richardson (1960), Hideki Matsui (2009), and Albert Pujols (2011)).

In the first five games against Cleveland, the Cubs were 12-for-77 (.156) with men on base. In the first three innings tonight, they went 5-for-7.

Chicago manager Joe Maddon made a curious decision to use Aroldis Chapman in the seventh inning. Lefty Mike Montgomery had put two men on and even though the Cubs led by five runs, Maddon went with the fireballer who had thrown 42 pitches in grabbing an eight-out save in Game 5. Chapman got the final out of the seventh on a grounder to first, taking the underhanded toss from Rizzo and stepping on the bag a split-second before Francisco Lindor. Actually, the initial call was safe, but that was overturned when the Cubs challenged. (That was really the only time that Cleveland had a chance to come back. If the initial call had stood, Cleveland would have had the potential tying run on-deck.)

Up by five and with six outs to go, Maddon seemed over-cautious in tapping Chapman for the eighth. After a strikeout, he gave up a single to Jose Ramirez, then got pinch-hitter Yan Gomes to ground into a double play. Maddon, after the game: "It was just the middle of their batting order. There was just no other way to look at that and feel good, man. That could have been the ballgame right there."

Rizzo hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth, giving Chicago a seven-run advantage, and Maddon still had Chapman start the ninth. The move really made no sense, since Maddon could need Chapman for multiple innings in Game 7. (And if Maddon doesn't trust his other relievers to get three outs before allowing seven runs, why are they even on the roster?) After Chapman walked Brandon Guyer to start the inning, Maddon went to Pedro Strop and Travis Wood to close out the game. Chapman ended up throwing 20 pitches.

Bryant and Rizzo are the first 3-4 hitters in World Series history to have a combined seven hits.

The Cubs (1945) and Cleveland (1997) have each played one World Series Game 7 - they both lost.
Jake Arrieta / Josh Tomlin


FenFan said...

I don't recall a World Series in recent years in which the managers used their pitchers as effectively. While it was odd seeing Chapman out there again, it made sense that Maddon would want his best reliever, i.e., his closer, facing the meat of the order. I know this is something that I've seen mentioned here: why save your closer for the ninth if the opportunity presents itself to use him more effectively earlier in the game?

I expect that both managers will have all pitchers on short strings in Game Seven and won't hesitate to pull someone if there is ANY doubt.

tim said...

The whole playoffs has shown pretty solid use of pitchers (Tito, Maddon recently, Kershaw for LAD, etc...) - funny to think the playoffs kicked off a month ago with bonehead Schowalter letting his best weapon sit.

The use of Chapman looks like overkill but hey - they won. We've always said use your best pitcher in a high lev situation and that's exactly what Maddon did, yeah it was a 5 run lead, but no second guessing here. And if Chapman blows em away again tonight then this will be forgotten. If he stinks and blows the game, Maddon will be second guessed into eternity....gotta wonder if that blown 7-0 lead vs. the Sox back in 08 was on his mind. In any event no one knows what may have happened had the second tier relievers come in but clearly Maddon was trying to squash any sort of potential CLE momentum, and it worked. Kudos to him, hopefully Chapman still has some left in the tank if they need it tonight.

That being said - go Tito! As much as I love comebacks and it would be nice to see the Cubs finally win one, I still have a soft spot for Tito (even over Epstein) and the fact that they've done so much with so little (the underdog story) is always nice too.