The Windy City is getting very anxious in anticipation of the first World Series game at Wrigley Field since World War II, and the possibility exists that the Chicago Cubs can actually close out their first world championship since 1908 in the “friendly confines,” so how much resistance will they face from a Cleveland Indians team that was an underdog coming into this affair, despite the fact that, at least at the outset, they had home field advantage? That and many more things are very interesting to ponder as we approach Game 3 of this World Series, set to get underway at 8:05 PM ET at Chicago. BetAnySports customers can get reduced juice on Friday night lines ahead of time, and then after the first pitch is thrown they can continue their action as they take advantage of the state-of-the-art software available through Live Betting Ultra.
The Cubs were shut out in the first game, as Corey Kluber was masterful out there for the Indians, and that was the third time in a six-game stretch that the Cubbies could not get a run on the board. That obviously changed last time out, and they got a great performance out of Jake Arrieta, who had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. But there is a little bit of bad news for Chicago in this one, as Kyle Schwarber, who came off the disabled list and his torn ACL and MCL to serve as designated hitter and come up with some big hits, particularly in Game 2, has been medically disqualified from playing in the field on Friday night and going forward. Remember, when these teams have to go to the National League park, there is no designated hitter allowed.
But the Cubs have a guy on the mound who could make all of that irrelevant. Kyle Hendricks was the major league leader in earned run average, and he has been very good, at least in the last round of the playoffs, allowing just one run in 12 2/3 innings. The Ivy Leaguer (Dartmouth) has been extremely tough to hit at home, with a 1.32 ERA at Wrigley. The Indians will go with Josh Tomlin, who is one of the great control pitchers in the major leagues, but also, at least until recently, had a propensity to give up home runs. The wind is blowing out in this one, so there is a little bit of danger in that happening.
In the World Series odds posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Cubs are solidly favored:
Chicago Cubs (Hendricks – R) -190
Cleveland Indians (Tomlin – R) +180
Over 8 Runs -115
Under 8 Runs -105
Tomlin has given up 36 home runs this season, and that was the third highest figure in Major League Baseball. And the wind will be supposedly blowing to the outfield at a rate of up to 40 mph at times during the contest. That generally would make the Cleveland starter a sitting duck, but he has improved a lot on this lately; in fact, Tomlin has surrendered only one homer in his last 37 1/3 innings pitched. And he has great control, with the best figure in the major leagues as far as walks per nine innings.
Schwarber’s absence from the starting lineup doesn’t really, on the surface, make a whole heck of a lot of difference, because, after all, this team got here without him. But he just happens to be swinging the bat very well right now, and the rest of the team, with the exception of Ben Zobrist, isn’t. In fact, the Cubs have just eight hits in 56 trips to the plate aside from those two guys.
BetAnySports customers may have noticed that Cleveland isn’t nearly as aggressive on the base paths as they really should be. The Cubs’ starting pitchers do not do a very good job of preventing runners from stealing, and the Indians were the most proficient team in the league in that department, with an 81% success rate. But they have only stolen one base, and Francisco Lindor, who did that, was caught later on in the game. Maybe that spooked manager Terry Francona, but nonetheless, he didn’t take advantage in Game 2 against Arrieta, and Joe Maddon has put his best catcher, Wilson Contreras, behind the plate for Friday’s game and probably games afterward.
It looks as if Francona is going to go with a three-man rotation in this series, with Corey Kluber starting Game 4. Andrew Miller, who threw 46 pitches in Game 1, has now had two days of rest and could be a big part of this one, if Tomlin isn’t able to go that many innings. Also remember that Danny Salazar came in for relief in Game 2, throwing 19 pitches. That was the first time he has ever had a relief appearance.
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