If you told most baseball fans that the World Series wouldn’t head back to Cleveland after the Chicago Cubs split the first two games at Progressive Field, they would likely claim it’s because the Cubs were able to finish the deal at home. After four games, it’s the Cleveland Indians who find themselves in position to clinch a World Series title at Wrigley after taking a 3-1 lead late Saturday evening. Here’s a preview of Game 5 on Sunday night.
Sunday at 8:00 PM ET on FOX in Chicago, Illinois
Trevor Bauer vs. Jon Lester
Why this game is worth watching:
It’s a potential clinching game. The Cleveland Indians have a 3-1 series lead in the World Series. The Chicago Cubs were the best team in baseball during the regular season. Something’s gotta give. Either the Cubs turn into big old mean bears with their backs against the wall, or the Indians will be popping champagne in the clubhouse when the game’s over. If that’s not intriguing enough for you then maybe baseball isn’t your game.
Key to the game:
Jon Lester needs to control the running game. This was a key in the Game 1 preview, and he actually did a pretty nice job. Francisco Lindor was able to swipe a bag off him but he also got caught later in the game, and just like in the first game, the tough part is getting on base. Lester needs to vary his times and step off when necessary, because we know he won’t throw to first. With the certain nervous excitement that will be running through the crowd Sunday night, Indians baserunners will be trying to get in Lester’s head. Whether he keeps his cool or gets flustered by the Tribe’s speed will be crucial in Game 5.
Player who is an X-Factor:
David Ross. “Grandpa Rossy” is a fan favorite and Jon Lester’s personal catcher. This will be his last start at Wrigley Field in his career, as he’s announced his retirement after the season. He had some emotional moments down the stretch with clutch hits and big plays, so don’t be surprised if he’s able to make an impact on Game 5 Sunday night.
Cleveland Indians relievers have pitched 45 innings in the playoffs. The only team with more: the Chicago Cubs with 46 innings pitched. The Tribe bullpen has an ERA nearly two runs better and have registered 19 more strikeouts than the Cubs ‘pen.
Towards the end of Game 3, it was easy to see the pain in some Cubs fans’ faces as they watched the home team struggle. It was even more evident on Saturday night when the Cubs lost again, this time by five runs. Can you imagine the anxiety in the Wrigley Field stands during Game 5 on Sunday? If you’re a Cubs fan you can. With their backs against the wall, the Cubs come out and fight back with a W to bring the series to 3-2. And although he’d never admit it, coming back to Cleveland for two potential-clinching games wouldn’t be the worst thing ever for Terry Francona.