The Cleveland Indians took their first step toward winning a World Series title Tuesday with a 6-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 and can seize a commanding 2-0 lead with another home win Wednesday.

The tandem of Corey Kluber, Roberto Perez and Andrew Miller was far too much for Chicago in Game 1.

Kluber outdueled Jon Lester with six-plus shutout innings. He allowed just four hits and struck out nine Cubs hitters, and he became the first pitcher in MLB history to notch eight punchouts through three innings in a World Series game, per Sports Illustrated.

Miller pitched scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth and danced out of trouble in each, while Perez connected with two home runs for four RBI even though he hit only three long balls all season.

Attention now moves to Game 2 on Wednesday, which will air on Fox. According to Tom Withers of the Associated Press, it will start at 7:08 p.m. ET instead of 8:08 p.m. because of the possibility of late rain in the forecast.


Game 2 Preview and Prediction

The Cubs will turn toward Jake Arrieta on Wednesday with the hopes of tying the series.

It is a testament to the strength of their starting rotation that Arrieta is the No. 3 starter at this point even though he won the National League Cy Young Award last year. He will pitch Wednesday because Kyle Hendricks just threw a gem in Saturday’s Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Arrieta was a machine last year with a 1.77 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 236 strikeouts but saw a decline in his production in 2016. He still posted a solid 3.10 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 190 strikeouts and even had a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in April.

Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times underscored how much pressure will be on the right-hander when he takes the hill:

That same pressure will be there for Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer.

According to Jordan Bastian of, Indians manager Terry Francona said Bauer will start Game 2 even though he pitched a mere 0.2 innings in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. He had to leave the game against the Toronto Blue Jays because a laceration on the pinkie finger of his pitching hand was bleeding all over his uniform and the ball.

He is not exactly a lights-out pitcher even when fully healthy and finished the 2016 campaign with a 4.26 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. What’s more, his 168 strikeouts were a drop-off from last year’s 170 even though he pitched 14 more innings this season.

Cleveland will need to rely on its bullpen if Bauer struggles, and Miller’s workload from Tuesday’s game could make that a problem. He faced a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the seventh and runners on the corners in the eighth, and he managed to escape each situation without allowing a single run, but he threw 46 high-stress pitches.

That number could limit his availability for Game 2, at least in terms of pitching multiple innings.

Buster Olney of ESPN The Magazine captured why a limited Miller would be a boost for the Cubs:

Chicago’s offense was invisible against Kluber, but this is still a group that scored 10, eight and five runs, respectively, in the last three games of the NLCS. The five runs came off three-time NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw.

Sometimes, one of the best pitchers in the league simply has his stuff, and that was the case Tuesday with Kluber. Don’t read too much into Chicago’s offensive struggles in the small, one-game sample size.

Kyle Schwarber wasn’t even there for those offensive outbursts against the Dodgers but proved his mettle Tuesday with a double off the wall and an impressive walk against Miller. He tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee in April but managed to make his way back for the World Series and will provide another lift in Game 2.

That offense will get to Bauer early and then add on in the middle innings against bullpen pitchers who aren’t named Miller.

Arrieta may not be the unhittable force he was in 2015, but he is still one of the most formidable pitchers in the National League when pitching at his best. He will settle in with the early run support and eventually hand the ball to Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman in the Chicago bullpen.

Lester summarized Chicago’s mindset after the Game 1 loss and harkened back to the 2-1 deficit it faced in the NLCS, per Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago: “Just like L.A.—everybody counted us out after Game 3. They said we were the worst best team in baseball. We’re not giving up.”

The Cubs already overcame one deficit this postseason and will start their journey toward a second comeback Wednesday.

Prediction: Cubs 6, Indians 3

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