Having lost two straight games at home and on the brink of elimination, the Chicago Cubs needed a big win to extend the World Series. And they did this on Sunday, beating the Cleveland Indians 3-2, narrowing the series gap to 3-2 as action heads back to Progressive Field.
The Cubs used a 3-run barrage in the fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead. They would never relinquish the lead as Jon Lester pitched 6-plus solid innings, and closer Aroldis Chapman got the final eight outs to end the game.
“A lot of people in Chicago have not seen a World Series game win,” said first baseman Anthony Rizzo, referencing how the Cubs hadn’t won a home World Series game since 1945. “I’m sure it’s emotional for everyone. It’s emotional for us.”
Chicago manager Joe Maddon was caught up in the emotion too, admitting it to the Washington Post after the game.
“Please be nervous,” said Maddon. “Absolutely. You should be nervous. We have to win tonight, so go ahead and be nervous. It’s up to us to get you beyond that moment and get back to Cleveland.”
While this victory is definitely nice for the Cubs, the challenge now is finding a way to win two straight games in Cleveland. That said, let’s go over the line for Game 6 and offer some betting analysis.
GTBets Line for World Series Game 6 (8:05pm EST at Nov 1)
Chicago Cubs -1.5 (+110), moneyline -145 (J. Arrietta)
Cleveland Indians +1.5 (+135), moneyline +135 (J. Tomlin)
Analysis on World Series Game 6
On paper, it appears that Chicago will have the pitching advantage with Jake Arrieta taking the mound. The 2015 Cy Young winner had very good stats this year, going 18-8 and maintaining a 3.10 ERA.
However, Arrieta has struggled in the postseason, losing his first two starts against LA and San Francisco and producing a 5.55 ERA. He managed to right the ship against Cleveland in Game 2, allowing just 1 run in 5.3 innings during Chicago’s win. But he also threw 98 pitches and walked three batters.
More concern for Arrieta is that just 40 percent of his pitches went in the strike zone in Game 2 – his lowest rate all year. But that was a cold-weather game, while tonight will be a warmer affair. Plus, Arrietta has one of the best sliders in baseball, holding opponents to 5-for-25 against this pitch in the postseason.
Tomlin didn’t have as impressive of regular season numbers, going 13-9 and tallying a 4.40 ERA. But he’s reached a new level in the playoffs, allowing just 3 runs in 15.3 innings. The 32-year-old is undefeated in the 2016 postseason, and he’ll look to keep that record going and close out the series.
The big problem, though, is that this is just the second time in Tomlin’s career that he’s pitched on three days’ rest. During the season, he had a 3.47 ERA with five days or more rest, versus a 5.42 ERA with four days’ rest. That could play a factor tonight as he faces a tough Cubs lineup.
The good news for Tomlin: he had the lowest walk rate among starters and has only given up one homer in his last seven starts. He’s not going to beat himself, and Chicago will need to get their bats going to win.
If Tomlin can pitch well enough into the sixth inning, the Indians’ bullpen – which has been stellar – will have a great chance to close out the game.
World Series Game 6 Betting Prediction: Cleveland Wins 4-3
Both Arrieta and Tomlin pitched excellent in their last outings. We don’t expect as great of pitching tonight, but both players will give their teams a chance to win. The big difference-maker, though, will be Cleveland’s bullpen combo of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen shutting Chicago out in the late innings.
The Tribe should be celebrating their first World Series win along with LeBron James, while Chicago will extend their drought to 109 years without a World Series victory.