Friday, October 28, 2016

World Series Game 3: Indians Take 1-0 Lead in 7th By Victor Mather and David Waldstein

Game 3 is the first World Series game played at Chicago’s Wrigley Field since 1945. Stay here for inning-by-inning updates and analysis.

Bottom of 7th: Cubs Can’t ‘Get Some Runs’

Between innings, the crowd got a lift from a Daffy Duck-style “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” from Bill Murray that concluded with “Let’s get some runs, suckers!” The Cubs did not answer his plea. With Miller out of the game, the Indians turned to Bryan Shaw to pitch. After Zobrist and Contreras grounded out, Soler hit a fly to right that barely stayed fair. Right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall jumped and missed it, and Soler wound up on third base. But Baez grounded out to end the seventh.

Top of 7th: Coco Crisp Delivers

The Indians had been getting men on base all night with nothing to show for it. Finally in the seventh they broke through. Perez singled to right, and Michael Martinez came in to pinch run for him. Naquin bunted Martinez over, and he advanced to third on a wild pitch to Rajai Davis, who had come in as part of a double switch. Davis walked, and Francona faced a tough choice: Let the dominant Miller bat or pinch hit for him with two men on? He opted for the pinch hitter, Coco Crisp. The move paid off, as Crisp line a single to right, and the Indians scored the first run of the game. Davis was thrown out at third on the play. With two outs, Mike Montgomery replaced Edwards on the mound. Kipnis grounded out in a close play, despite a desperate dive for the first base bag, But the Indians had a crucial run on the board.

David Waldstein: Well, things got very interesting when Miller’s spot in the order came up early as the Indians sent five batters to the plate in the seventh. With runners at the corners and one out, Francona was forced to pull Miller for pinch hitter Coco Crisp, who delivered. But Miller won’t be in the game to protect the lead.

Another interesting move earlier in the inning was to pinch run Martinez for Roberto Perez after Perez had singled. That worked, too. But Perez has caught every pitch of the postseason for the Indians. Yan Gomes is about to make his 2016 postseason debut for Cleveland, and that could be interesting for the pitchers.

Bottom of 6th: Miller Dominates Cubs

Andrew Miller had pitched 13 2/3 innings in the post-season without giving up a run. He looked just as formidable in the bottom of the sixth. Fowler, Bryant and Rizzo all struck out swinging.

David Waldstein: I don’t understand exactly why people swing at Andrew Miller’s slider. It almost never ends up in the strike zone. It may look like it at first, but you end up swinging at a pitcher’s pitch out of the zone. If it comes out of his hand and you see slider — yes you, Anthony Rizzo — DO NOT SWING.

Strike three to Rizzo ended up in the right-handed batter’s box. What a bad dude.

Top of 6th: Edwards Handles Middle of Indians’ Order

The rookie Carl Edwards Jr. came in to pitch the top of the sixth for the Cubs for his World Series debut. He had no problem with Cleveland’s 4-5-6 hitters: Napoli grounded out, Ramirez popped up and Chisenhall struck out.

Bottom of 5th: Andrew Miller Takes the Mound

The Cubs got their second hit, when Jorge Soler lined a single to left on the first pitch of the inning. But they failed to break the stalemate. Baez and Russell grounded out, and then Manager Terry Francona decided that it was time for Andrew Miller, the mainstay of the Indians’ pen. Miller did not pitch in Game 2, and the expectation was that he would throw an extended session tonight. He got pinch-hitter Miguel Montero to fly out, ending the inning.

David Waldstein: Interesting move by Terry Francona to bring Andrew Miller into a tie game in the fifth. He double-switched him into the leadoff spot and took out Carlos Santana, who was starting his first game in left field. Rajai Davis took over in left field.
Well, it’s all about the bullpens now. When will we see Kyle Schwarber?

Top of 5th: Cubs Get Out of Huge Jam

The frustration continued for the Indians, who loaded the bases with one out and still could not get on the scoreboard. Naquin popped a single to left to start it off. After pitcher Tomlin bunted him over, Santana walked and Kipnis was hit by a pitch. Joe Maddon decided it was time to go to the pen, and Hendricks departed having surrendered six hits in 4 1/3 innings, but with no runs and six strikeouts. That brought on Justin Grimm, who gave up two runs in an inning in his previous Series appearance in Game 1. Maddon’s call was vindicated when Lindor grounded into a double play. Six hits and two walks for Cleveland, but still no runs.

David Waldstein: Masterful managing, relief pitching and defense by the Cubs to get out of a bases-loaded jam. Hendricks walked Santana and then hit Kipnis with his 85th pitch to load the bases, so Joe Maddon was not going to take any chances. This is not the regular season, right?
Maddon removed Hendricks with Lindor (2 for 2 heading into the at-bat) coming to the plate, and brought in Justin Grimm. Grimm throws a lot harder than Hendricks, but it was a full-count curveball that did the trick. Lindor, who started the at-bat behind 0-2, hit a ground ball that the Cubs turned into a double play, Baez to Russell to Rizzo.

So, we are into the Cubs bullpen already, and Andrew Miller is warming in the Indians bullpen.

Bottom of 4th: Tomlin Still in Control

Tomlin was unremarkable in the regular season, but he excelled in his first two post-season starts and has continued that through four innings tonight. Bryant drew a leadoff walk on a pitch that looked like a strike. But no harm was done, as Rizzo popped up to the catcher, Zobrist grounded into a fielder’s choice, and Contreras flew out. Still just one hit for the Cubs.

Top of 4th: Hendricks Gets Out of Trouble

Lindor punched a grounder in the right spot between first and second, and again the Indians had a man on. Napoli struck out looking with the help of Umpire John Hirschbeck’s generous strike zone, before Ramirez got his second hit of the game, putting men at first and second. But yet again the Tribe could not put anything on the scoreboard. Chisenhall grounded out, and Perez stuck out.

Bottom of 3rd: Cubs Go Down, 1-2-3

Russell grounded out. Hendricks grounded out. Fowler lined out to right. Not much punch from the Cubs, who have just one hit through three innings.

David Waldstein: Josh Tomlin is looking sharp through three innings. Tomlin is a control pitcher who is known for getting fly balls, but he has actually induced a higher rate of ground balls lately by using his curveball more, according to FanGraphs. The website also noted that he led the American League in strike rate and had baseball’s best walk rate among qualifying pitchers. He throws the ball over the plate.

Kyle Hendricks is very similar. He is known as the Professor because he went to Dartmouth. Apparently, in baseball, that is the equivalent of being an M.I.T. advanced astrophysicist. He has a real cool demeanor and does not overpower anyone. Neither pitcher will get too worked up about anything, and they both rely on control and movement.
Tonight, Hendricks’s changeup is a swing-and-miss pitch. He got Kipnis on a nasty one and Tomlin, too. Tomlin is actually a decent hitter.

Top of 3rd: Indians Getting on Base, but Can’t Convert

Tyler Naquin stung a 3-2 pitch to short, but Addison Russell made the diving catch. That brought up the Indians’ best hitter, Josh Tomlin. Yes, Tomlin was a career .500 hitter, though with a small sample size, 6-for-12. But he struck out this time. Leadoff man Santana worked a two-out walk, and the Indians had a base runner for the third consecutive inning. But they also failed to score for the third consecutive inning when Kipnis struck out.

David Waldstein: A funny moment after the top of the third: Before Addison Russell walked to the plate, the home plate umpire John Hirschbeck went to the mound and started looking at the ball with Josh Tomlin. It did not appear to be anything nefarious, though. In fact, Hirschbeck may have been deliberately delaying the game so that Indians first baseman Mike Napoli could take care of something in the dugout. Napoli was late getting to his position.
At one point, Francisco Lindor trotted in from shortstop, and Hirschbeck put up his hand and told him to stop, which Lindor did dutifully, pausing and putting his hands behind his back. Then Hirschbeck smiled and waved him in to the mound confab.
Hirschbeck is known for having a very large strike zone and calling tons of strikes. But some pitchers feel that in the last year or two, he has tightened up to compensate for his reputation.

Bottom of 2nd: Tomlin Gets Out of Trouble

For the first time since Harry Truman was president, the Cubs got a hit in the World Series at Wrigley Field, a ground single up the middle by Ben Zobrist. He advanced to second on a groundout by Willson Contreras. But Jorge Soler whiffed and Javier Baez popped up. No score through two innings.

David Waldstein: This is Ben Zobrist’s 50th postseason game and his 12th World Series game. With 

his single in the second inning, he is now 6 for 9 in the first three games of this World Series and is the only player other than Babe Ruth to have three hits in Game 1 of consecutive World Series. He went 6 for 23 over all in last year’s World Series against the Mets, with four doubles and five runs scored. I have always thought he was a winning player, beginning with his days in Tampa Bay. He always seemed to have the big hit against the New York teams, anyway.

Top of 2nd: Hendricks Keeps Indians in Check

The Indians started the second with another infield hit, as Jose Ramirez stung a ball that caromed off Rizzo and Baez. Then he nearly got picked off as well. Hendricks was clearly paying a lot of attention to the base runners in the early going. Lonnie Chisenhall hit into a fielder’s choice, and Roberto Perez, who improbably has the only two home runs of the series so far, grounded into a double play.

David Waldstein: Roger Johnson, the son of Cubs second baseman Don Johnson, who played in the 

Cubs’ last World Series in 1945, is at the game in the left field bleachers with his grandson. Johnson was wearing his father’s National League pennant ring, which he showed me, and it looked legit. It was small, with one tiny diamond at the top, and the word Cubs was kind of rubbed out.

Don Johnson went 5 for 29 in the ’45 World Series with two doubles and a triple. He played with the Cubs from 1943-48. His father was Ernie Johnson (Roger’s grandfather), a utility infielder who played with Babe Ruth on the Yankees from 1923-25. Roger Johnson, who is from Laguna Beach, Calif., said he has two checks that his father wrote to Ruth for $1,500 for a loan. Apparently the Babe borrowed money from his teammates.

Bottom of 1st: Nothing From Cubs

For the first time since Perry Como was No. 1 with “Till the End of Time,” the Cubs batted in a World Series game at Wrigley Field. Dexter Fowler grounded out. Kris Bryant hit a fly to left that was more interesting than usual, because Carlos Santana was playing there; normally a DH, he has never started a game in the outfield. He handled it fine. And Anthony Rizzo grounded out. No threat at all from the Cubs in the first inning.

The first World Series game at Wrigley Field since two months after VJ Day began with a called strike against Carlos Santana. Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks completed the strikeout to the delight of the frenzied Cubs crowd. Jason Kipnis hit a little dribbler down the right side that landed in just the wrong spot for the Cubs, and he beat it out. Francisco Lindor stroked a single to left, and the Indians had two men on. But the threatening situation fizzled when Lindor was picked off first after a replay overturned the initial safe call and Mike Napoli struck out swinging.

David Waldstein: Terrible play by Francisco Lindor to get picked off there. The Indians were ready for a big inning with first and third and one out. If they could have scored it would have played into their formula of taking early leads and then locking them down. But instead, they get nothing and the Cubs fans have a moment to amp up their cheering.

The conditions here at Wrigley are gorgeous. Wind is blowing out from home plate to left field. If anyone gets the ball up into that jet stream, it could carry a long way.

Wrigley Field Is Live

Wrigley Field is bursting at the seams. There are so many people inside and out of the park that simply walking around is not always possible. There is a gangway in the upper deck behind home plate, with about three feet of space across it.
There have to be as many people milling around outside as there are inside, and if there is someone not wearing Cubs gear, then it must be a member of the Cleveland Indians traveling party, because I don’t see any of their fans.
And this has been going on most of the day. About four hours before the game I saw the Indians’ bus trying to work its way through a gantlet of Cubs fans. Well, here we go. This should be something to behold. — David Waldstein

Here’s What to Expect in Game 3

■ Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber has not been medically cleared to play the outfield for Game 3. That means that Manager Joe Maddon can only use him as a pinch-hitter at Wrigley Field. Schwarber returned from a season-long absence for Game 1 and has been hitting everything thrown to him, so that leaves a pretty big hole in the Cubs’ lineup.
■ The Cubs have a sizable advantage among starting pitchers. In Game 3, the Cubs will send out Kyle Hendricks, who led the majors in earned-run average and adjusted E.R.A., to face Josh Tomlin, a 32-year-old right-hander who showed good control and not much else in a fairly average season (though he has performed well in his two postseason starts). Hendricks is great at home. This year he was 9-2 with a 1.32 E.R.A. at Wrigley Field.
■ Cleveland’s plan of being aggressive on the basepaths has not worked out. Francisco Lindor stole second in the first inning of Game 1, but the team that led the American League in steals this season has yet to have one since. It is not helping that Rajai Davis, who led the team with 43 steals, has been on base just once in seven plate appearances. Joe Maddon has said that Willson Contreras will start at catcher for at least the next two games, and his strong arm and aggressive style may convince the Indians to find a new way of doing things.
■ Both managers have no fear of using their bullpens. The deepest a starter has gone so far is Kluber’s six innings in Game 1, with the teams combining to use 14 relievers for 14 innings of work. With Game 2 out of reach, Cleveland was able to give Andrew Miller a day to rest after his 46-pitch effort in Game 1. He had another day off Thursday, so Terry Francona will likely hand him the ball early tonight.

Miller’s Wipeout Slider

Indians pitcher Andrew Miller is one of the most dominant relievers in baseball. Accordingly, he wields one of baseball’s most dominant pitches — a wicked slider that is nearly unhittable. Here’s a frame-by-frame breakdown of Miller’s go-to pitch.


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