In front of what promises to be a raucous Wrigley Field crowd, the Chicago Cubs will look to take a 2-1 lead over the Cleveland Indians in Game 3 of the 2016 World Series on Friday night.

The Indians will send Josh Tomlin to the mound, and Kyle Hendricks will get the nod for the Cubs. Corey Kluber and Jake Arrieta both delivered gems for their teams in Games 1 and 2 respectively, and starting pitching will likely be the decisive factor in Friday’s game as well.


World Series Game 3

When: Friday, Oct. 28, at 8 p.m. ET

Watch: Fox

Live Stream: Fox Sports Go


Game 3 Preview

Patience was a virtue for the Cubs in Game 2. Indians pitches walked eight batters Wednesday night, with Trevor Bauer having a particularly difficult time putting hitters away. Bauer threw 87 pitches in 3.2 innings, compared to 88 pitches in six-plus innings for Kluber.

In that respect, Tomlin may put Cleveland in a better position to succeed than Bauer. According to FanGraphs, Tomlin allowed the fewest walks per nine innings (1.03) in the league among qualified pitchers.

The Cubs have a potent lineup—one made more effective when hitters are allowed free bases and work deep into counts.

Tomlin doesn’t have overpowering stuff, as evidenced by his 4.40 earned run average and 4.88 FIP during the regular season, per The conditions inside Wrigley Field could be troublesome for the 32-year-old right-hander as well.

The Chicago Tribune‘s Tom Skilling reported Friday’s forecast is calling for wind blowing out toward the outfield, which will help the baseball carry.

On Thursday, Tomlin remained indifferent about any impact the weather might have, according to’s Paul Hoynes: “The stuff you can’t control is the stuff I’m not going to concern myself with at the moment. My job is to keep the ball down in the zone, try to induce quick outs and keep them off the barrel of the bat. Whether the wind is blowing out, in, sideways or up, I really don’t care.”

Tomlin allowed 1.86 home runs per nine innings in the regular season, third-highest among qualified starters, per FanGraphs. His propensity to give up the long ball and the heavy winds could be a toxic combination for the Indians.

At least Cleveland won’t have to worry about Kyle Schwarber causing the kind of damage he did in Games 1 and 2. Despite missing almost all of the regular season, the 23-year-old is 3-for-7 with two runs batted in in the World Series.

Schwarber will be limited to pinch-hitting duties when the Cubs are playing at home. Team president Theo Epstein announced Thursday that Schwarber isn’t medically cleared to return to the outfield, per the team’s Twitter account.

Even taking Schwarber out of the equation, the Cubs still have plenty of offensive weapons. Tomlin will have a difficult time navigating through a lineup that features Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, both of whom hit 30-plus home runs, as well Ben Zobrist, Javier Baez and Addison Russell.

The silver lining from Game 2 for Cleveland was that manager Terry Francona didn’t need to call upon either Andrew Miller or Cody Allen. As a result, both relievers will be even more fresh for Game 3.

The problem may be that Tomlin will have already allowed too many runs for Miller or Allen to make any sort of impact.

The big question for the Indians is whether they can get a quality start from anybody other than Kluber. Francona is going to use a three-man rotation for the World Series, per Andrew Marchand of, with Kluber, Bauer and Tomlin pitching on three days’ rest beginning in Game 4.

At some point, Tomlin or Bauer will have to step up, and that’s assuming Kluber is lights out over his remaining starts.

A loss Friday night wouldn’t be a devastating blow to Cleveland’s World Series chances, but it would cast further doubt as to whether the American League champion has the pitching to go all the way.

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