The Cleveland Indians retook control of the World Series Friday night by blanking the Chicago Cubs, 1-0, at Wrigley Field. It was a party 71 years in the making and the Cubs offense forgot to show up. This behavior is turning into a bad habit. If it keeps up, the invitations will cease because, quite simply, there won’t be any more parties to attend.
The Cubs have been shut out in four games during the postseason. No team has been silenced like that since the 1905 Philadelphia Athletics, who failed to score in four of five World Series games against the New York Giants. Joe Maddon’s club now faces the unenviable task of a must-win tonight against Corey Kluber, the same pitcher who proved unhittable in Game 1.
On the flip side, the Indians pitching staff, widely believed to be an area of concern, has also been setting playoff history. They’ve hurled five shutouts in the team’s 11 games. Kluber and Andrew Miller have been getting most of the attention. The latter has now thrown 15 scoreless frames — an unprecedented feat for a reliever.
But save some praise for Josh Tomlin, who is 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA and outpitched Kyle Hendricks in one of the most emotional games you’ll ever see. Save some for Cody Allen, who notched a four-out save after flirting with danger and hasn’t surrendered a run in 10 innings.
The Indians pitching dominance has been a total staff effort, reflective of a season that’s exceeded expectations thanks to a total team effort. They’ve been the more consistent team this postseason, going 9-2 to the Cubs’ 8-5. Perhaps that’s not surprising considering the Tribe never lost more than three consecutive games all season.
To steal a line from Patrick Stump, the Fall Out Boy singer who sang the national anthem before Game 3, the playoff story for the cubs has been hell or glory and nothing in between.
And too often that goose egg hell has resulted in defeat.
A title-starved and rabid group of 41,000-plus fans will pack Wrigley Field tonight for another party. The mood will be slightly different and a little more desperate. That can all change if the Cubs offense decides to drop by — or better yet — stay awhile and catch up.