On the north side of Chicago, Wrigleyville was packed tonight with fans excited to bring the World Series back to Wrigley Field for the first time in 71 years. The last time the Cubs were in a World Series (October 6-10, 1945), the world had just declared peace a few weeks prior, and the majority of the 40,000+ fans inside the stadium (and the thousands outside) hadn’t even been born.
So, it’s understandable that Chicago is pretty excited to see its team not just in the World Series, but having a pretty good chance of bringing a championship back to Cubs (since 1908) and to Wrigley for the first time (Wrigley opened in 1914). But not based on how they played tonight.
Actually, the Indians and Cubs’ starters had quite a bit of a pitching duel for most of the game tonight. The Indians’ Tomlin really kept things tight for his team, throwing just 58 pitches into the 5th inning, giving up just 2 hits and a walk. Meanwhile, the Indians’ batters pushed the Cubs’ starter Hendricks in his pitch count — 85 pitches into to the 5th inning, giving up 6 hits and 2 walks. Yes, the Indians had more opportunities, but the Cubs were able to get the outs in the right places, allowing their hometown fans to have quite a stressful night on the edge of their seats (so to speak, as most of the fans stood for the full game in anticipation).
Both bullpens kept the game tight, and mostly scoreless. Miller, Shaw, and Allen split the final four innings for the Indians and did what they do best — dominate and keep their opponents from advancing. Now, the Cubs’ bullpen was actually really strong tonight as well (with a single inning exception), as Maddon (the Cubs’ manager) pieced together the best combination to keep the Indians from doing much on their end as well.
Like I said, there was a single inning where the Indians finally broke the scoreless game. Albeit a momentary break. But in these kinds of games, you grab what you can. In the 7th inning, the Indians led-off with a single. The pinch-runner moved to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch put him at 3rd. After a walk to Davis, the Cubs’ reliever attempted to pick-off the lead runner, but the runner was deemed safe. The Cubs thought it was too close and challenged it, but the call was upheld.
This ended up being good for the Indians as pinch-hitter Crisp’s single scored that lead runner to get a run on the board. The other runner was thrown out at 3rd on the play, and the Cubs went to a new reliever. A ground out (and subsequent challenge that was upheld) ended the inning and the run-scoring for the night.
Final score: 1-0 Indians, Indians lead series 2-1.
The Indians now hold record for most postseason shutout games, at 5. That says a lot about the state of pitching for both teams in this series actually. I wouldn’t be surprised if the MVP for the World Series (despite which team wins) was a pitcher (like it was for both the NLCS and ALCS).
Chicago native, former Yankee, and current Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson was awarded the Roberto Clemente Award prior to tonight’s game. Granderson has been committed to giving back to the community since his college days, making a large personal donation to his alma mater (UI-Chicago) to help build a baseball complex to serve inner city kids, and is the current home of his foundation’s youth clinics in Chicago. His foundation also runs clinics in New York and Florida. Granderson is also involved in other charities in New York like food banks, housing projects, the USO, and YMCA, and is the active in campaigns to fight childhood obesity, water initiatives, and MLB’s Diversity Task Force. A good guy to receive a “good guy award”.
Brett Gardner was announced today as a Gold Glove Award finalist for his outstanding defense as the Yankees’ left fielder. Every year, the award is given to the best defensive player at each position. Managers and coaches votes (within league and not for their own players) are weighted at 75% of the vote with the other 25% weighted by the actual statistics. But anyone who’s watch Gardner leap, slide, dive, and somersault in the outfield ever know how much he deserves the honor. Fingers crossed that everyone else sees it too.
And in Baby Bomber news: Gleyber Torres was named as the Arizona Fall League’s Player of the Week. Torres, you may remember, was part of the trade that sent closer Chapman to the Cubs (and eventually to the World Series), but his impact in the Yankees’ organization is becoming quite the conversation. He is considered one of the best prospects in the Yankee farm system and one of the best prospects in the all of MLB. In other words, everyone is watching this young kid from Venezuela with high hopes for the future. And he’s currently wearing Baby Bomber pinstripes.