WORLD SERIES | Game 7: 'This is what you want’
CLEVELAND (AP) — Most fans around the country can sit back and savor Game 7. Not so easy for anyone who has spent a lifetime rooting for the Cubs or Indians.
All those years of hope and heartbreak collide tonight when Chicago and Cleveland meet one last time this season to decide the World Series.
With the Cubs seeking their first championship since 1908 and the Indians trying to stop a drought that dates to 1948, the stakes could hardly be higher.
“No one says Game 3 or 5. This is what you want,” said shortstop Francisco Lindor, who leads the Indians with a .364 Series average.
Cleveland ace Corey Kluber pitches against Kyle Hendricks, the major league ERA leader. Kluber has a chance to become the first pitcher to win three World Series starts since Detroit’s Mickey Lolich in 1968.
“The game has changed,” the 76-year-old Lolich said Tuesday. “It’s a totally different game than what we played back in our days. It just doesn’t happen.”
Addison Russell hit a grand slam and tied a Series record with six RBIs in Chicago’s 9-3 win Tuesday night that forced this captivating matchup to the limit.
Chicago is trying to become the first club to overcome a 3-1 Series deficit since the 1985 Kansas City Royals and the first to do it by winning Games 6 and 7 on the road since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.
Now it’s one night, winner take all.
“It’s a kid’s dream,” Russell said.
Even after losing two straight, the Indians remain confident.
Kluber is 4-1 with a 0.89 ERA in four postseason starts, starting with 16 consecutive scoreless innings against Boston in the Division Series and Toronto in the AL Championship Series.
“That’s our guy. That’s our stud,” Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis said.
A 30-year-old right-hander, Kluber started on three days’ rest for the first time in his big league career in Game 4 against the Blue Jays. He left after five innings with the Indians trailing 2-1 in a 5-1 defeat, then threw 88 pitches over six innings as Cleveland beat the Cubs 6-0 last Tuesday in the Series opener.
He came back on three days’ rest in Game 4, needing 81 pitches for six innings of one-run, five-hit ball in a 7-2 win that gave Cleveland a 3-1 lead.
“Obviously, he’s a special guy,” Hendricks said. “You can just see it, the way he takes to the mound. He’s always locked in.”