The hype of tonight’s game in Chicago has turned most of the baseball-watching world into multi-tasking professionals. We have armchair meteorologists, with 20-40 MPH winds blowing straight out to center expected, hypothesizing on which team will be aided by the potential power boost. There are competitive historians, attempting to outdo one another with the most shocking historical contextualization for the last time a World Series game was held in Wrigley. There are even local businesses taking a variety of approaches to the influx of Cubs faithful desperate to be on the scene for a part of history.
Wrigleyville bar Moran's is charging a $100 per person cover for tonight. $500 for a table + tax + required 18% tip. pic.twitter.com/XiuGeuo0Eh— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 28, 2016
Hopefully all the buildup will result in tonight’s game being the first close game of this series.
Cleveland at Chicago – (Series tied 1-1) 5:00 PM PT on FOX
Kyle Hendricks was as dominant as a starter had been in these playoffs the last time we saw him, locking down the Dodgers en route to a victory that saw the Cubbies face the minimum. With the 6th best team wRC+ in the majors this year, Cleveland is a group that does not slouch when they come to the plate, but one has to assume that, with three games in consecutive nights, Cleveland’s nearly flawless bullpen usage will be tested thoroughly. Josh Tomlin has been significantly better during the postseason than in the regular season, perhaps bolstered by knowing that he does not need to pace himself as thoroughly with a pitching chimera ready to relieve him as soon as he gets in trouble. That said, he has not faced an offense like these Cubs, who, even without Kyle Schwarber in the lineup, are the same team they've been all year. On the plus side, Tomlin seems ready to hit.
InstaGraphs: Josh Tomlin Thinks Hitting Is Cool https://t.co/9xvCoY4uXy— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) October 28, 2016
Beyond pitching, an interesting (to me, but hey, don’t let me tell you what to do) thing to watch will be Carlos Santana in left field. He has played outfield but once in the MLB, in 2012, in Boston, which, while presenting its own unique challenges, requires far less range than the somewhat more standard outfield experience of Wrigley. CF Tyler Naquin has led Cleveland’s dominance against offspeed pitching, which may prove useful against a less than overpowering Hendricks. His range, however, is not quite as strong as Rajai Davis’, so Santana may have to fend for himself against a team very capable of putting the ball out there with power
|CLEVELAND INDIANS||CHICAGO CUBS|
|Carlos Santana - LF||Dexter Fowler - CF|
|Jason Kipnis - 2B||Kris Bryant - 3B|
|Francisco Lindor - SS||Anthony Rizzo - 1B|
|Mike Napoli - 1B||Ben Zobrist - LF|
|Jose Ramirez - 3B||Willson Contreras - C|
|Lonnie Chisenhall - RF||Jorge Soler - RF|
|Roberto Perez - C||Javier Baez - 2B|
|Tyler Naquin - CF||Addison Russell - SS|
|Josh Tomlin - RHP||Kyle Hendricks - RHP|
FiveThirtyEight: 66% Cubs win.