The picture is getting clearer: The Cleveland Indians are one win away from a World Series title, their first in 68 years, after another victory at Wrigley Field, beating the Chicago Cubs 7-2 to take a 3-1 lead in the series.
As in their previous wins this series, the Indians didn’t completely shut down the Cubs offense, but they limited their opportunities to score, holding them to 7 hits and one walk. With the Cubs advantage supposedly being their lineup talent and power, not having that to show has simply taken them out of contention time after time. They weren’t shut out like in game 3, but the moment the Indians took the lead in this game, it didn’t feel like the Cubs had what it takes to come back.
The Cubs actually scored first through Anthony Rizzo in the first inning, but that was the last we heard of the Cubs offense until the 8th, when a Dexter Fowler home run didn’t really change anything. John Lackey lost control of the game in the 2nd and 3rd innings, giving up a home run to Carlos Santana (playing first base). Corey Kluber got a hit off of him which helped the Indians take the lead, although Kluber’s contributions mostly came in other ways. Francisco Lindor added an RBI in the third to give the Indians a two run lead, but the big blow was in the 7th inning, when Jason Kipnis hit a 3-run homer, giving the Indians a 7-1 lead they knew wouldn’t disappear.
Kluber was terrific in six innings, picking up his second win of the series, allowing five hits and one run, but also striking out 6 and looking more and more difficult to hit as the game dragged on. Andrew Miller gave up a home run but he struck out two and didn’t let the game slip away in two innings of work. Considering what the Indians have asked him to do, they couldn’t expect any more. Dan Otero came on in the ninth inning to finish the game, not having any problems.
The Cubs? They can’t find answers, but they need ’em, and fast. Kris Bryant, Adonis Russell, Willson Contreras. The list goes on. Too many key offensive contributors are simply failing to make contact. Jason Heyward played and had two hits, but the Cubs finished with 1-for-7 with runners in scoring positions. Against a team that doesn’t allow second opportunities like the Indians, the Cubs failed to take advantage of those given to them.
Talks of goats and curses will surely continue if the Cubs do end up losing this series, especially at home, getting swept in front of the Wrigley faithful. But in the end, it’ll be because their players underperformed when it meant the most, unable to generate an offense that was way ahead of everyone during the regular season, and unable to tap in or find the right guys to put on the mound, having too little left to trust by the time this series came around.