Arrieta: ‘We’re going to have to earn it’
Down 3 games to 2, Cubs fans, players not giving up
CLEVELAND — Along Sheffield Avenue on the north side of Chicago, hours before the Cubs survived against the Indians in Game 5 of the World Series, Cubs fans chalked messages onto the bricks of Wrigley Field. They said goodbye to the ballpark for the winter. They hoped to bid farewell to a century of inadequacy.
The notes went to parents and grandparents, to all those who departed during the team’s 108-year championship drought. They scrawled messages of hope (“Cubs Never Quit”), real-life reproductions of hashtags (“#FlyTheW”) and reminders of the basics (“Let’s Get Some Runs”).
In yellow chalk, one would-be strategist scratched the blueprint for the sort of comeback unseen in baseball since 1985, a team recovering from a 3-1 deficit in the World Series. Lester . . . W. Arrieta . . . W. Hendricks . . . W. = World Series. “Why not us?” third baseman Kris Bryant asked late Sunday evening. “I feel like we play our best with our backs up against the wall. We went out there today, took care of business. Hopefully wecan get out there and win Game 6, because you never know what Former Oriole Jake Arrieta, who allowed one run in 52⁄ innings in Game 2, will start tonight in Game 6 for the Cubs.
can happen in a Game 7.”
Behind the left arm of Jon Lester, along with an eight-out save by closer Aroldis Chapman, the Cubs accomplished the first third of that Sunday night. The next two involve more complications. The Cubs trail 3-2 after dropping two of three at Wrigley Field over the weekend.
Chicago must use former Oriole Jake Arrieta, who has been erratic at times this October, in Game 6 to get to Kyle Hendricks for Game 7. Cleveland will play at home, and used Monday to refresh the arms of star relievers Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. Corey Kluber, the team’s starter in Game 1 and Game 4, looms for Game 7.
“When you’re on the road, it’s you against the world, which is OK,” Clevel and manager Terry Francona said. “But the biggest thing of all is when you’re the home team, you hit last, so you get to use your bullpen differently, and that’s a huge advantage.”
The Indians worked out at Progressive Field on Monday afternoon. The Cubs delayed their flight to Cleveland until the evening. Arrieta planned to throw a light bullpen session before the flight.
“We know we’ve got a challenge on our hands, but this isn’t a time of year where anything’s going to come easy,” Arrieta said before Game 5. “We’re going to have to earn it.”
Arrieta did his part in Game 2. He turned in 52⁄ innings of one-run baseball. He did not give up a hit until the sixth inning. But his command has wavered at times during the final weeks of the season.
Arrieta will face Josh Tomlin, a right-hander with a fastball in the upper 80s who has a 1.76 ERA in the postseason. Like the majority of the Cleveland staff, he overloaded the Cubs with offspeed pitches in Game 3. TheCubsswungwithabandon, and Tomlin finished with 42⁄ scoreless innings. He threw only 58 pitches, which makes it easier for him to return to Game 6 on three days of rest.
“The body’s feeling good,” Tomlin said. “Everything’s feeling the same as it did last start, so hopefully that bodes well for me.”
The Indians can pull their starters early because Miller and Allen are willing to throw multiple innings as needed. Allen pitched 12⁄ innings in Game 5, while Miller did not pitch. Both are expected to be used in long outings if Cleveland gains a lead in Game 6. Miller could replicate the eight-out feat of Chapman, his former New York Yankees teammate.
The Cubs’ Kris Bryant, left, celebrates with Jake Arrieta after Sunday night’s victory in Game 5.