It is perhaps a bit odd to think that playing under National League rules would have a larger negative impact on the National League Team rather than the American League Team, but as the Cubs were shut out for the fourth time this postseason, it was clear that some extra thump and added depth to Chicago's lineup was needed. Given the Cubs had one of the top run scoring offenses in all of baseball, the idea that the Cubs NEED Schwarber's bat in the lineup may be exaggerated, but given the high level of breadth and depth of pitching teams face in the postseason, one more elite bat really can make all the difference in the world. As the World Series moves to Game 4, the Cleveland Indians now have a 2-1 advantage, and have effectively wrestled home-field advantage back from the Cubs.
The Indians won last night thanks in large part to the efforts of Tomlin, Miller, Shaw, and Allen, who all combined to pitch nine innings of nail-biting shutout baseball. The hero of last night's game, however, would be beloved former-Athletic Coco Crisp, who had a key pinch hit single in the late innings that would wind up driving in the only run of the game that was scored. The single served as a strong reminder to A's fans everywhere that, even with the rest of his skills on the decline, Coco lives for the biggest moments on baseball's stage and never backs down. It is nice to see that much of the joy that Coco brought and unleashed in Oakland can be shared with the team that gave him his first chance in the majors.
Tonight's game, beginning at 5:00 Pacific Time, will feature Indians' ace and Game 1 starter Corey Kluber going up against playoff veteran John Lackey. Kluber and company managed to twirl a combined shutout in Game 1 of this series, as Cleveland's pitching staff has been far, far, better than advertised despite the fact that the playoff rotation is only at half-strength. Lackey's playoff success began in 2002 with the Anaheim Angels by winning the clinching Game 7 over the Giants (a more traumatizing World Series for many an A's fan, there is not). Lineups are below.
|CLEVELAND INDIANS||CHICAGO CUBS|
|Rajai Davis - LF||Dexter Fowler - CF|
|Jason Kipnis - 2B||Kris Bryant - 3B|
|Francisco Lindor - SS||Anthony Rizzo - 1B|
|Carlos Santana - 1B||Ben Zobrist - LF|
|Jose Ramirez - 3B||Willson Contreras - C|
|Lonnie Chisenhall - RF||Addison Russell - SS|
|Roberto Perez - C||Jason Heyward - RF|
|Tyler Naquin - CF||Javier Baez - 2B|
|Corey Kluber - RHP||John Lackey - RHP|