Chicago Cubs at Cleveland Indians
When: Tonight, 8:00 PM ET, October 25, 2016
Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
CLEVELAND – (Wire Service Preview – Special to Digital Sports Desk) – One long-suffering fan base is guaranteed to be smiling by the end of the World Series while the other will go back to hanging its collective head and listing off curses. The Chicago Cubs try to start snapping a 108-year drought while extending the Indians’ streak of World Series futility to 69 years when they visit Cleveland for Game 1 on Tuesday.
The Cubs already snapped one long drought just by reaching the World Series for the first time since 1945 when Kyle Hendricks and Aroldis Chapman finished off the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday. “Go out there and play the game freely, play the kind of game we’re accustomed to playing, which would be we would want to pitch well, catch the ball on defense and work good at-bats,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters of his team’s approach. “So when you get to this particular moment, to try to avoid being outcome based, we try to do that all the time, just go out there, continue to work the process.” The Indians, like the Cubs, made a move at the deadline to bring in an ace reliever and plucked Andrew Miller from the Yankees. The left-hander and ALCS MVP is proving his worth in the playoffs with 21 strikeouts and five hits allowed in 11 2/3 scoreless innings over six games – in each of which he recorded at least four outs.
TV: 8:08 p.m. ET, FOX
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs LH Jon Lester (2-0, 0.86 ERA) vs. Indians RH Corey Kluber (2-1, 0.98)
Chicago started Lester in each of its last two playoff series and was rewarded with dominant performances each time. The two-time World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox was the co-MVP of the NLCS along with second baseman Javier Baez after surrendering two runs in 13 innings in the series against the Dodgers. Lester, who got the nod over Jake Arrieta, owns a 2.50 ERA in 19 career postseason games (17 starts) and is 4-0 with a 3.72 ERA in eight career starts at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Kluber allowed nine hits over 13 1/3 scoreless innings in his first two postseason starts but struggled to close out the ALCS in Game 4 at Toronto, when he was reached for two runs in five frames and absorbed the loss. The former Cy Young Award winner’s 20 postseason strikeouts is one behind Miller for the most among pitchers still left in the postseason, though his seven walks are No. 1. Kluber did not walk a batter in his lone previous start against the Cubs and struck out 11 while allowing one run in 7 2/3 innings on Aug. 24, 2015.
1. Indians manager Terry Francona and Cubs president Theo Epstein combined to snap a different World Series drought when they were together with the 2004 Boston Red Sox.
2. Cubs OF Kyle Schwarber has not played since undergoing surgery on his left knee in April but could serve as DH in the World Series.
3. Cleveland RHP Danny Salazar (forearm) threw three innings in a simulated game Sunday and was added to the World Series roster.