One team will be cel­e­brat­ing in Cleve­land

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By An­drew Selig­man

CHICAGO >> One way or an­other, there will be a championship cel­e­bra­tion in Cleve­land.

Still to be de­ter­mined? Whether the In­di­ans or Cubs will be pop­ping the cham­pagne.

The Cubs won a World Se­ries game at Wrigley Field for the first time since 1945 and at least de­layed Cleve­land’s big party with a 3-2 vic­tory Sun­day night.

Aroldis Chap­man got the fi­nal eight outs in the long­est ap­pear­ance of his ca­reer, Jon Lester pitched six strong in­nings and Kris Bryant home­red as Chicago cut the In­di­ans’ lead to 3-2.

So a World Se­ries be­tween the teams with base­ball’s long­est ti­tle droughts goes back to Cleve­land, with 2015 NL Cy Young Award win­ner Jake Ar­ri­eta set to start for the Cubs and Josh Tom­lin go­ing on short rest for the In­di­ans in Game 6 on Tues­day night.

“We’re writ­ing our own his­tory,” Chicago short­stop Ad­di­son Rus­sell said. “We’re mak­ing his­tory. Why stop?”

His team rolled through the reg­u­lar sea­son with a ma­jor league-lead­ing 103 wins, took out play­off-tested San Fran­cisco in the NL Di­vi­sion Se­ries and ral­lied to beat the Los An­ge­les Dodgers in the NL Championship Se­ries. The Cubs were so dom­i­nant at times they had their long-down­trod­den fans be­liev­ing that, af­ter decades of sup­posed curses and sin­cere heart­break, this just might be the year.

It still could be — but it would take an his­toric ef­fort. Only five teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven World Se­ries, most re­cently Kansas City in 1985.

Stand­ing in the Cubs’ way is a team and a city that knows a thing or two about ti­tle droughts.

Cleve­land en­dured a 52year championship dry spell be­fore LeBron James brought one home with the NBA’s Cava­liers last spring. The In­di­ans last won it all in 1948, which pales in com­par­i­son to a Cubs wait that dates to 1908.

“We’re in good po­si­tion,

still,” Cleve­land slug­ger Mike Napoli said. “We’re up 3-2 go­ing home. We did what we had to do here. We put ourselves in po­si­tion to try and win it in a crazy at­mos­phere. We’re happy with what we did here. We’re go­ing to get home and play in front of our fans.”

The Cubs are bank­ing on an­other big ef­fort from Ar­ri­eta and hop­ing for a bet­ter re­sult against Tom­lin.

Ar­ri­eta took a no-hit­ter into the sixth in­ning and pitched the Cubs to a 5-1 vic­tory in Game 2 at Pro­gres­sive Field. Win on Tues­day and they’ll send ma­jor league ERA leader Kyle Hen­dricks to the mound in Game 7.

Of course, the In­di­ans are also feel­ing good about their chances.

Af­ter all, Tom­lin tossed 4 2/3 score­less in­nings in Game 3 be­fore giv­ing way to that nasty bullpen. And if it goes to Game 7, well, the In­di­ans will have their ace in play, Corey Klu­ber.

He — like Tom­lin — would be pitch­ing on short rest, un­like Ar­ri­eta and Hen­dricks. But when it comes to beat­ing Klu­ber, the Cubs are 0 for 2 in this Se­ries.

“Yeah, we get to go over there with two rested start­ing pitch­ers,” Chicago man­ager Joe Mad­don said. “I like to be­lieve we’re go­ing to catch or gain some mo­men­tum from this game go­ing back over there. But mo­men­tum’s al­ways based on your start­ing pitcher, too. And again, with these guys you saw how good their bullpen was. Once again, it’s re­ally im­por­tant to grab that lead and hold onto it.”

There was plenty for Mad­don to like about Game


The pitch­ing per­for­mances by Chap­man and Lester and the home run by Bryant topped the list. But how about Ja­son Hey­ward and his high­light-reel catch on Trevor Bauer’s foul fly down the right-field line in the third in­ning? Hey­ward planted his foot and grabbed the top of the wall, then reached back to­ward the field with his glove to snag the ball.

Or what about An­thony Rizzo at first base?

He had the crowd roar­ing in the sec­ond in­ning when he ran in and caught a foul pop by Car­los San­tana that catcher David Ross de­flected near the first base du­gout.

Rizzo also made a div­ing stop on Ra­jai Davis’ grounder down the line in the eighth. Chap­man, how­ever, said he fell to­ward third on his de­liv­ery and by the time he re­al­ized it was a fair ball, it was too late to cover first.

Some­thing else to con­sider:

With the Se­ries shift­ing back to Cleve­land, the Cubs can use slug­ger Kyle Sch­war­ber as their des­ig­nated hit­ter again.

He’s not per­mit­ted to play the field, but was cleared by doc­tors to hit. That was a neat Oc­to­ber sur­prise for the Cubs af­ter Sch­war­ber missed al­most the en­tire sea­son be­cause of a knee in­jury.

“We’re al­ways con­fi­dent,” Rizzo said. “We get to see Tom­lin now a sec­ond time on short rest. I’m go­ing to con­vince my­self that ... he’s not go­ing to be as sharp. (Sch­war­ber) is back and I’m sure he’s chomp­ing at the bit.”

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