Indians blank Cubs for World Series lead

Oct 31, 2016, 00:11
Indians blank Cubs for World Series lead

It has been feast or starvation so far in the playoffs. Tonight, it was starvation. Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller throws during the sixth inning of Game 3 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Chicago Cubs Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Chicago.

On a night when the winds gusted out to left field up to 35 miles per hour, the anticipated slugfest never came to pass. For one seat, you have to pay more than $3,000. Unless he decided not to.

But the Cubs can take some solace in the fact they actually managed to score against both Kluber and Miller in Game 4.

Decades of disappointment and curses gave way to a major league-leading 103 wins and hope for the Cubs that their first championship since 1908 is on the way.

Hendricks then struck out Mike Napoli to strand Kipnis at third. Russell had Tyler Naquin cursing his name with his diving grab on the edge of the infield for the first out in the third inning.

"The guys got to see him, so there won't be as much of a surprise the next time he pitches", Maddon said after Friday night's 1-0 loss.

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In all, four Cleveland pitchers struck out eight batters and scattered five hits. This was probably a mistake.

On top of not having their best hitters in the lineup, Cleveland's pitchers will have to hit - something they've barely done all season.

Maddon had seen enough, and called on right-hander Justin Grimm to face Lindor, who promptly grounded into an inning-ending double play. The Cubs were out of the inning and no runs scored.

The lack of a designated hitter for the NL park also affects the Indians, likely sending Carlos Santana to left field for only the second time in his career. Heck, most Little Leaguers would have caught it. Martinez went to second on a sacrifice bunt and third on a wild pitch by Cubs reliever Carl Edwards. Edwards walked Rajai Davis to bring Miller's spot in the order up, forcing Francona's hand. On replay, it looked inconclusive.

The Indians and their manager are authoring a remarkable playoff run. But that was the only time the Cubs broke through against him.

We toyed with putting Bill Murray's rendition of the seventh-inning stretch in the "3 Down" category, but he's earned the benefit of the doubt. So that's a thing.

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In the bottom of the seventh, Jorge Soler sliced a fly ball down the right field line that took Lonnie Chisenhall to the wall. However, Shaw got Javier Baez on a bouncer to short to end the threat. "And it wasn't looking like he was going to get to come to a game at all".

"We made it interesting in the ninth", said Anthony Rizzo, who opened the final inning with a single. To add to the misery, the now-famous "billy goat curse" was put on the club just a few days earlier by a local tavern owner, who was denied admittance to the stadium with his pet goat for Game 4. Through Game 3, they'd won nine of 11. It nearly happened. Heyward hit a grounder to first that Napoli booted. With the tying run aboard and two away in the eighth, Kris Bryant chased a pitch in the dirt. The count ran full before Lindor grounded a curve to second base.

"The runs are at a premium and we need to get them when we can and fortunately for us, we got one today and they didn't".

So, yeah, this Cleveland pitching staff is pretty darn impressive. The Cubs hitters deserve some blame for this. Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14 ERA) toes the rubber for the Indians on short rest after a record-setting game one start. "I don't really feel like the last time I did it made a big difference in the way I felt the day I pitched". The Cubs sit one game from elimination. Save your teeth-gnashing until later.

The Indians in many ways won despite themselves.

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The Steelers defense will benefit from Ryan Shazier's return, who will likely see a lot of Gronkowski and Bennett in coverage. Tom Brady kindly instructed Harbs to "study the rule book" after he complained. "I've got to handle my (role)".

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