Cubs fans will have to wait a little bit longer to witness the first World Series win at Wrigley in (almost) all of their lifetimes after losing a tense 1-0 game to the Indians Friday night.
The Indians, despite having something like 2.5 healthy starters, managed to blank yet another postseason opponent, making this the fifth shutout they’ve completed during these playoffs. No team has ever done that before!
So, yes, the pitching was great. Everything else—the strike zone, the base-running, the Cubs’ ostensibly offensive juggernaut of a lineup, Anthony Rizzo’s defense, Bill Murray’s rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game”—was not.
Kyle Hendricks and Josh Tomlin earned the duel dubious honor of pitching extremely well for not all that long.
(Managers likely had an eye on who would start a potential Game 6 when they decided to yank their starters early.)
Cleveland’s heavy reliance on the bullpen—Andrew Miller already has the record for most scoreless innings pitched in relief in a single postseason—paid off. Just as it has throughout the playoffs, allowing them to stretch an injury-riddled rotation and complete their record fifth postseason shutout.
With runners on first and third in the top of the seventh, Coco Crisp singled to drive in Michael Martinez for the only run of the night. It could have been the start of something bigger if not for boneheaded base running by Rajai Davis that left him no choice but to flop 10 feet out from third and suffer a face-first tag out.
The Cubs kept things interesting into the bottom of the ninth and even Jason Heyward got in on the fun. After Rizzo singled and two outs were recorded, Heyward miraculously avoided fulfilling the destiny of his disappointing season and reached on an error. Only to have October hero and Fun Baseball Dude Javier Baez strike out. Let’s do this all again tomorrow night!