Sports editor prediction for game six: Cubs win

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (left) and catcher Willson Contreras celebrates their win against the Cleveland Indians after Game 2 of the World Series Wednesday in Cleveland. The Cubs won 5-1 to tie the series 1-1. 

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (left) and catcher Willson Contreras celebrates their win against the Cleveland Indians after Game 2 of the World Series Wednesday in Cleveland. The Cubs won 5-1 to tie the series 1-1. 

Scott Nicol

The Chicago Cubs inched closer to making a comeback Sunday when they defeated the Cleveland Indians 3-2 in an anxiety filled game. 

The Indians are still ahead in the series 3-2, but for the first time all season the pressure is off of the Cubs.

14 out of 31 ESPN analysts picked the Cubs to win the World Series coming into the season; nobody chose the Indians. Of course, the pressure and picks came with merit as the Cubs made it to the National League Championship Series in 2015 before being swept by the New York Mets. 

With the series heading back to Cleveland, the designated hitter comes into play. This means Cubs outfielder Kyle “Schwarbino” Schwarber will be reinserted into the lineup.

Schwarber was not cleared to play in the field when the series moved to Chicago, therefore Schwarber was limited to a pinch hit role. He will be batting second in tonight’s lineup with third baseman Kris Bryant, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and left fielder Ben Zobrist following, according to ESPN 1000. 

The keys for the Cubs tonight will be left in the hands of starting pitcher Jake Arrieta. The Cubs need for Arrieta to pitch a game similar to the one he pitched Wednesday in game two when he went 5 2/3 innings, giving up just two hits and one earned run while striking out sixth. 

Arrieta struggled in the second half of this year, posting a 4.88 ERA in July and 4.60 ERA in September and going a combined 2-6 in those months. 

Another key for the cubs is the aforementioned Schwarber. He adds that extra pop the team desperately needed while the series was in Chicago. Schwarber will be batting second tonight and this will force pitchers to pitch to him as pitching around him is not an option with Bryant and Rizzo waiting.

The Cubs need to build on Sunday’s win and come out swinging. If they score early, look out the World Series could be heading to game seven.

The Indians will have something to say about momentum however as they have Josh Tomlin on the mound. 

Tomlin pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings in game three, and has a postseason ERA of 1.76 in three starts. 

The Indians tried to apply pressure on Cubs starting pitcher Jon Lester, but they did not have many opportunities to do so as Lester did not pitch from the stretch until the fifth inning. 

The Indians will need to go back to what won them the first two games in Chicago, and what got them through the season playing small ball. 

Arrieta’s command has not been as pinpoint as it was during his stretch of dominance that yielded him the 2015 Cy Young Award, so if the Indians are able to be patient early and drive up Arrieta’s pitch count by drawing a few walks then the celebration could be on early in Cleveland.

The earlier Cleveland gets a lead, the more pressure they put on the Cubs to make another come back against a team that has a combine 1.70 postseason ERA. 

This years Cubs team has not shied away from the pressure all season, and I don’t think they shy away from the big stage tonight. Prediction: Cubs win 4-3.