Dear Cubs Fans,
We are in for a treat on Wednesday night. So clear your schedule, grab a fellow fan, and get ready to stare at your TV screen all night. It’s winner-take-all Game 7 with the two best regular season pitchers for their respective ball clubs on the mound. The Cubs are trying to become the first team since the 1985 Royals to erase a 3-1 series deficit to win the fall classic. The Cleveland Indians, led by ace pitcher Corey Kluber, will have a third shot at securing their first World Series title since 1948.
Kluber, who will be Cleveland’s starting pitcher for the third time this series, has been lights out this postseason. He pitched 6 innings in both Games 1 and 4 and gave up only one earned run in the two games combined. The key for Chicago tonight is going to be the overall team performance at the plate. They need get runners on base, work the count early, and force the Indians to stretch their bullpen for the second night in a row.
The good news for the Cubs is that their bats appeared to return to regular-season form last night as Addison Russell and Anthony Rizzo, both of whom have struggled at the plate this postseason, hit their first home runs of the series and combined for 8 RBI. Kris Bryant had a big night as well, launching his second solo shot in as many games. If the momentum at the plate from Game 6 carries over into the first part of the upcoming finale, we could see a few early runs for Chicago as they face off against Kluber for the third time in 8 days.
On the mound for Chicago will be the league leader in ERA, Kyle Hendricks. The last time Cleveland faced Hendricks was in Game 3, when he pitched 4 shutout innings before being pulled in the 5th. If Hendricks can match innings with Kluber tonight, or even go longer, the weight of Game 7 will lie squarely on the shoulders of Cleveland bullpen that saw a lot of work Tuesday night.
Tonight’s pitching matchup will be the best of the series, with the regular-season ERA leader squaring off against arguably the most dominant pitcher in this year’s postseason. Add in the fact that the two franchises hold the two longest championship droughts in MLB and we have all the ingredients for an instant classic.
For the starving Cubs fans, 108 years of waiting will come to an end with just one more win. It feels only fitting that these teams, given the circumstances, would require a winner-take-all contest to determine which will end it’s long wait.