World Series tied 1-1
Short form of tonight's recap:
Long form of tonight's recap
For the entire postseason, fans of the Cleveland Indians have been treated to how good the Tribe can be when things are going right. Solid starting pitching, a lethal bullpen, and just enough offense to outlast opponents has been the name of the game for Cleveland since the ALDS. Tonight was an example of what can happen when just about everything is going wrong. Bad situational hitting (or, actually, hitting in general), shaky pitching, and bad defense culminated in what was a heartbreaking game for a team hoping to go up 2-0 before heading out to Wrigley for the next 3 games.
A rare occurrence for Cleveland in the 2016 postseason came when they found themselves trailing after one inning. Trevor Bauer, in the first inning, started off much better than his last start due to the fact that his finger was not bleeding all over the mound. However, things went south quickly when Kris Bryant singled and immediately scored on an RBI double by Anthony Rizzo. The next two batters went down, and credit should be given to Bauer for getting out of an early jam with only minimal damage done. The second inning was much better for Bauer, and the third looked to be much of the same until it wasn't. After retiring Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant relatively quickly, Bauer got Rizzo down to an 0-2 count before throwing 4 straight balls to walk him. Because Trevor Bauer is a massive headcase (read: 110% sarcasm), he had the audacity to give up a single to Ben Zobrist and an RBI single to World Series MVP Kyle Schwarber (wait, that hasn't been awarded yet?...can someone tell Joe Buck? I feel that he's been grossly misinformed in this matter...) to put the Cubs up 2-0, which was all they would need to even the series. For good measure, just to crush the heart and soul of every Cleveland fan in attendance, the Cubs added 3 more runs in the fifth because Zach McAllister's fastball was not fooling anyone tonight.
Did Bauer look good? Not really. Was he dreadful? Not really. He lasted all of 3.2 innings and allowed two walks, six hits, and two earned runs. When Bauer left the game and Zach McAllister struck out Fowler to end the fourth, the Tribe was very much in striking distance. The main issue for the Tribe tonight was, surprisingly, not their pitching. The pitching didn't help matters, but when Jake Arrieta took a no hitter into the sixth inning, there just wasn't enough time for the Indians to bounce back. Arrieta looked fantastic tonight, and it showed; Cleveland hitters tonight looked absolutely foolish and couldn't do anything until Jason Kipnis broke through with a hustle double. This was the highlight of Kipnis' otherwise forgettable night in which he committed two errors in the field and struck out twice. His double (which should ease the worries about his ankle) put him in a position to advance to 3B on a Francisco Lindor ground out and allowed him to score on a wild pitch by Arrieta. Yes, the only offense for the Tribe came on a wild pitch. It was that kind of night.
A couple of positives in an otherwise depressing evening. Danny Salazar made his first postseason appearance, and he actually looked pretty good. Sure, he walked two batters, but he gave up no hits and was routinely hitting 95-97 MPH on the radar gun, which was nice to see. Command still looks to be a little shaky for Danny, but hopefully the velocity is a good sign that he may be able to provide some useful innings to the Tribe in the remaining games. Additionally, Mike Clevinger suddenly looked fantastic. He needed just 10 pitches to set the side down in the top of the ninth. If this series turns into a slugfest (which I have a feeling it might), bullpen arms not named Andrew Miller and Cody Allen are going to need to make some important contributions; hopefully Clevinger and Salazar can help shorten the remaining games.
There's no way around this: the Cleveland Indians are not in a great position right now. With the first two games being split, the World Series comes down to a best of five in which the Cubs have home field advantage. A win tonight would have meant winning only 1 of 3 in Chicago would have been good enough to send the series back to Cleveland. Now, winning only 1 game in Chicago will put Cleveland into elimination mode for the remainder of the series. I've said I think that the Tribe will win in 6, so the Cubs, by the tenants of basic math, were going to win two games at some point. I just wish that those two wins would have come later in the series. That being said, I don't believe for a second that the Cleveland Indians are done and that the Cubs should starting prepping their celebrations. We've seen all season and all postseason that the Cleveland Indians are a damn good ball club that can rally and win against any opponent. The next three games are going to be incredibly difficult, but if any team can rise to the occasion, it's the 2016 Cleveland Indians. Rest up, enjoy tomorrow, try and get some of that work done that you've been putting off for the last week, and get ready to go on Friday when Josh Tomlin faces off against Kyle Hendricks at 8:00 PM in Chicago.