The Chicago Cubs had no reason to panic after losing Game 1. Although Jon Lester absorbed a defeat pitching against Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber, the Cubs had 2015 Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta on the mound in Game 2.

After a shaky first inning in which he walked two batters, Arrieta settled into a comfortable groove and shut down the Cleveland offense. At the same time, Kyle Schwarber and Ben Zobrist got the offense going, and the Cubs evened the World Series with a 5-1 victory.

There was a sigh of relief in the Chicago clubhouse and throughout Major League Baseball. The Cubs were breathing easier because they avoided going home in an 0-2 hole, while the league was happy to get the second game in without a delay.

The game started an hour earlier than originally planned because the forecast called for rain, and if the the game had not reached its conclusion, it could have delayed the World Series even further, as more rain is expected on Thursday in Cleveland.

The Cubs should have a major advantage in Game 3. Not only do they return home to Wrigley Field and their adoring fans, they have Kyle Hendricks on the mound against Josh Tomlin.

Hendricks is a Cy Young candidate as a result of his brilliant 2016 season. He finished the year with a 16-8 record and had a brilliant 2.13 earned run average. He also had a remarkable 0.979 WHIP.

He is also coming off a brilliant performance in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in which he pitched 7.1 innings, allowed two hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter in the Cubs’ 5-0 victory.

Tomlin had a 13-9 record with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.190 WHIP. Tomlin has a 2-0 record in the postseason, having defeated the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series and the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS. He has a 0.938 WHIP in the postseason.

Tomlin has performed well in the postseason, but Hendricks had a brilliant season and is coming off a clutch performance against the Dodgers.

The Cubs also have the advantage with hitters like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Addison Russell. Additionally, Schwarber‘s return from the torn ligament that had sidelined him since early April is a remarkable story.

Schwarber has three hits in two games as a designated hitter. It remains to be seen if he will be cleared to play the field in the National League ballpark or whether the Cubs will only be able to use him in a pinch-hitting role.

For the Indians, the strategy is to get an early lead and turn the game over to the bullpen. Andrew Miller, who pitched two innings in Game 1 and was the ALCS MVP, did not pitch in Game 2 and will have the benefit of a day off on Thursday. He should be ready to throw another two innings before turning the ball over to closer Cody Allen.

Of course, that strategy only works if the Indians have the lead in the ninth inning.



The Cubs will return to their championship-hungry fans, and they will play well and build up a solid lead.

They will attack Tomlin and give Hendricks a 6-2 advantage, and he will pitch six innings before manager Joe Maddon turns the game over to his bullpen. The never-say-die Indians will cut into the lead, but they’ll still trail by two runs in the ninth.

Their chances will look slim when Aroldis Chapman comes into the game with his 103 mph fastball. However, the Indians will raise their concentration level and mount a rally. Mike Napoli will strike the big blow when he launches a two-run homer onto Waveland Avenue, giving the Indians a two-run lead.

Allen will come in and close down the Cubs. The Indians will stun the Cubs and their fans with an 8-6 come-from-behind victory.

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