While the Indians have a chance to win for the first time since 1948, the Cubs have a chance to win for the first time since 1908.
The last time the Indians were in a Game 7 of a World Series they lost to the Florida Marlins in 1997. The last time the Cubs were in Game 7 of a World Series, they lost to the Detroit Tigers in 1945.
FOR SURE, SOMETHING has to give and with these two teams it is almost poetic justice that the Series goes seven games, even if fans on both sides are emotionally drained.
The drama should be excruciating for both sides, fans and players alike — especially for pitchers Corey Kluber (Cleveland) and Kyle Hendricks (Chicago).
Kluber will be making his third start of the Series, his second straight on only three days of rest. Cleveland manager Tito Francona sent Josh Tomlin to the mound Tuesday on three days of rest.
IT DIDN’T WORK. THE Cubs were armed and extremely dangerous on this night.
Manager Joe Maddon, never conventional, reworked his lineup. He put designated hitter Kyle Schwarber in the No. 2 hole and dropped Kris Bryant from second to third and Anthony Rizzo from third to fourth and Ben Zobrist from fourth to fifth.
Did it work? Did it ever. Bryant had four hits, including a home run. Rizzo had three hits, including a home run.
Tomlin retired the first two Cubs in the first inning, then gave up a long home run to Bryant and the Tribe fell apart.
Anthony Rizzo followed Bryant’s home run (his third hit of the Series, two for homers before he added three more hits) with a single. And Ben Zobrist singled.
Addison Russell lofted a shallow ball to right center. Third out? Nope. Either center fielder Tyler Naquin or right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall could have caught it. But it was a case of, “Mine, yours, mine, yours, oops.”
THE BALL FELL BETWEEN the two outfielders and two runs scored to make it 3-0.
The excuse-me double for two gift runs opened the trapdoor for a deluge of Cubs runs.
Tomlin didn’t make it out of the third inning. Designated hitter Kyle Schwarber drew a full-count walk in the third.
With one out, Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist singled to fill the bases and Francono brought in Dan Otero to face Addison Russell.
On a 2-and-0 count, Russell silenced all of Northeastern Ohio with the 19th grand slam home run in World Series history and the Cubs led, 7-0. It was time for the Indians to try to scratch and claw their way back into it, but they had more scratch than claw.
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta retired nine of the first 10 he faced, issuing a walk. Jason Kipnis led the fourth with a double and the Tribe scored a run. They had the bases loaded with two outs and Arrieta struck out Tyler Naquin to once again cast a pall over the Cleveland environs and invoke a cheer out of Chicago that could be heard on the shores of Lake Erie.
JASON KIPNIS HOMERED for the Tribe in the fifth and when Arrieta reached 102 pitches with two out in the sixth Maddon went to his bullpen.
He brought in Mike Montgomery first. And then when the Tribe put two on with two outs in the seventh Maddon didn’t fool around.
He brought in Aroldis Chapman to face Francisco Lindor. On the second pitch, Lindor grounded to first and a whole bunch happened.
Lindor was called safe and Chapman came up limping. The play was reviewed and Lindor was called out by the narrowest of margins, ending the inning.
But was Chapman hurt?
IF HE WAS, NOBODY looked after him in the dugout and he limped back to the mound for the eighth.
He struck out the first batter and gave up a single to Jose Ramirez and pinch-hitter Yan Gomes hit into an inning-ending double play.
All doubt was removed in the top of the ninth when Bryant singled for his fourth hit and Anthony Rizzo nearly knocked down a satellite with a two-run home run to right for a 9-2 lead.
Chapman went back out for the ninth and walked the first batter, ending his night.
But he threw 20 pitches over 1 1/3 innings. Two days ago he pitched 2 2/3 innings and threw 42 pitches. That’s 62 pitches in four innings over a three-day span and he certainly won’t be available Wednesday for Game 7.
Who closes, if needed? Maddon will think of something. And he actually said after the game, “I’ve talked to Aroldis. He is a strong man. I think he’ll be all right tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Francona used neither of his bullpen bullies, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen, so they are armed and ready.