Ar­ri­eta: ‘We’re go­ing to have to earn it’

Down 3 games to 2, Cubs fans, play­ers not giv­ing up

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Andy McCul­lough

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.

EZRA SHAW/GETTY IM­AGES

NAM Y. HUH/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The Cubs’ Kris Bryant, left, cel­e­brates with Jake Ar­ri­eta af­ter Sun­day night’s vic­tory in Game 5.

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