We have ourselves a series, as the Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians 5-1, tying the 2016 World Series at 1-1, heading on to Chicago for the next 3 games, and who knows, maybe the end of this series.
This is the first win for the Cubs in the world series since 1945, but history anecdotes aside, it was a nice way for the NL champions to bounce back from getting shut out in game 1. The Cubs finished with 9 hits and 8 walks, unlike their relative struggles in the first game to get on base. Both Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber had 2 hits, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras were walked twice, and the decision to use Jason Heyward off the bench didn’t hurt the team.
Jake Arrieta finally had a good game in the playoffs, allowing one run and 2 hits in 5.2 innings while striking out 6. A lot like the Arrieta who won the Cy Young award last season, and the one who showed up with some terrific stuff in the first half of the season. Arrieta didn’t work under pressure, as the Cubs got going early with a Rizzo double to score Kris Bryant. Schwarber added an RBI single in the third, and the decision to use his as the DH has been paying off, with hits in both games so far.
A Zobrist triple scored Rizzo, opening a 3-run 5th inning, that ended with the bases loaded and Addison Russell getting a walk. Whether it was the finger or simply a bad day, Trevor Bauer didn’t make it out of the 4th inning, and it wasn’t until Danny Salazar came in as a relief pitcher that the Indians managed to slow the Cubs down. Bryan Shaw is usually the barometer whether things are going well or not. He didn’t do well in his 0.2 innings, and so Terry Francona knew there was no use in putting Andrew Miller and Cody Allen on the mound.
For the Cubs, relief went swimmingly. Once Jason Kipnis got the only run for the game for the Indians, Mike Montgomery came on to pitch and did a good job, including 4 strikeouts, as he worked the mound for two innings. He was followed by Aroldis Chapman, walking one batter but also striking out 2 in 1.1 innings of work to close out the game, and taste world series victory for the first time in his career as well. In 9.1 innings of pitching in the postseason, he has a 2.89 ERA.
So this is what the Cubs have to do: Score first. They’re 7-1 this postseason when getting the first run, only one of their wins coming when they weren’t the first team to register a run. For those who want a little bit more statistics, this is the 58th time the World Series has been tied at 1-1, and to add to the either way kind of feel, the winner of game 2 has gone on to win it all 29 times. The Cubs, most importantly, broke the Indians pitching before it became a myth like in the ALCS, but Cleveland aren’t in that bad of a spot, especially with Miller and Allen getting some rest.