With the series tied at one, the Indians and Cubs make the trip from Cleveland to Chicago for three straight games at Wrigley Field. It’s been a long time coming for Cubs fans who watched their team finish with the best record in baseball during the regular season. It will be a true test to see if the Cubs can keep their emotions in check or whether the Tribe can steal a win away. Here’s a breakdown of the game.
Friday at 8:00 PM ET on FOX in Chicago, Illinois
Josh Tomlin vs. Kyle Hendricks
Why this game is worth watching:
This is the first World Series game at Wrigley Field in 71 years. Generations have passed without even an appearance, let alone a championship. As ticket prices soar to outrageous amounts, you can sit on your couch or at your favorite local sports bar and enjoy this game for free on FOX.
Key to the game:
Kyle Schwarber’s pinch-hit appearance. This assumes he isn’t starting in the outfield, which he reportedly is not ready to do just yet. Schwarber’s return has been the story of the series so far, but to this point he’s only appeared as a designated hitter in the first two games. With the series back in Chicago, the DH is gone and Schwarber is left to pinch-hitting duties. When that happens (key word: when), his success through two games, the fact this is the first World Series game at Wrigley in 71 years, the fact that he’s been a fan favorite since game one; all that adds up to one must-see at bat. Unfortunately for Schwarber and the Cubs, even with his hot postseason hitting (career .353 hitter in the playoffs), he has a 65% chance of failure.
Player who is an X-Factor:
Willson Contreras. The Cubs catcher had a very successful rookie season hitting .282 with 12 homeruns in 252 at bats. He has an intriguing matchup in Game 3 against Josh Tomlin. Contreras hit 10 of his 12 homers against right-handed pitching. Josh Tomlin (right handed) allowed 36 homeruns this season, the third-highest total of any pitcher in the Majors, and has averaged 2.03 HR/9 to right-handed hitters this year. Interestingly enough, however, Tomlin allowed only one homerun in his last five appearances of the regular season and has not allowed a four-bagger in his 10.2 innings of work thus far in the playoffs.
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin has a career batting average of .500 (6-for-12).
The Cubs are rather large favorites as they enter this matchup with all the storylines and arguably their most effective pitcher on the mound. Kyle Hendricks had a MLB-best 2.13 ERA in the regular season. In front of the electric crowd, expect the home team to be amped for this one. The energy will lead to over-aggression for Cubs hitters and Josh Tomlin will take advantage. The Indians will silence the crowd against all odds and take Game 3 of the World Series.