The Loveable Losers can’t afford to lose again.

Cleveland took a 3-1 lead in the World Series on Saturday night, leaving the Chicago Cubs on the brink of adding another season to a title drought dating back to 1908.

In the process, Cleveland now has registered as many wins at Wrigley Field during the World Series (two) as the Cubs have in their entire history, per ESPN Stats & Information.  

Cleveland’s first chance to end the series will be Game 5 on Sunday.

You can also stream the game on Fox Sports Go.

Certainly, the Cubs will be pleased to be done with Corey Kluber for the time being. He’s now held the Cubs to a lone run in 12.0 innings pitched this World Series, with 15 strikeouts, nine hits allowed and one walk. 

Andrew Miller has also played a huge role in all three of Cleveland’s wins, pitching a total of 5.1 innings and allowing one run on three hits, two walks and eight strikeouts. The combination of Kluber and Miller stifled the Cubs once again in Game 4, leaving a dim light at the end of the tunnel for the Cubbies.

After all, the Indians will call on Miller at some point again if the Cubs can prolong this Series. And Kluber will loom in Game 7 if Chicago makes it that far. 

But the Cubs can take some solace in the fact they actually managed to score against both Kluber and Miller in Game 4. Or that they can turn to Jon Lester in Game 5 and potentially Jake Arrieta in Game 6 and Kyle Hendricks in Game 7.

Still, Lester knows his work is cut out for him.

“You have a lot of contact in that lineup. So that puts pressure on your defense when you’re able to do that,” he said per “When you don’t strike out a lot, that puts pressure on your defense and makes you continually execute pitches. And I think that’s where they wear the starting pitcher down and get to that bullpen early.”

So what are the keys to the game for the Cubs as they hope to stay alive?

  • A strong performance from Lester
  • An early lead

“So the big thing again is to grab the lead somehow,” manager Joe Maddon noted, per the report. “Grab the lead, hold onto the lead. You don’t want to try to fight from behind on these guys because that trilogy (relievers Miller, Bryan Shaw and closer Cody Allen) and they’re throwing out there is pretty good.”

Indeed, Cleveland’s formula for success has been to score early, rely on the bullpen and make defensive moves to limit the chances of allowing any runs late in the game. It’s a tactic that Terry Francona has orchestrated to near perfection this offseason and one the Cubs can’t allow him to utilize in Game 5.

But the Cubs also need their bats to wake up. In their three losses in this World Series, they’ve scored a total of two runs. In their one win, they put five on the board. 

Kris Bryant is 1-for-14. Addison Russell and Javier Baez have just two hits apiece. The team can’t call on its best hitter in the Series, Kyle Schwarber, who hasn’t been cleared to play in the field.

The Cubs have the depth and talent to swing their way back into this series, especially against Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. It will be key in Game 5 that the Cubs get to Bauer early. If Cleveland’s starter can give the Indians quality innings and hand the bullpen a lead in the later innings, the Cubs will likely be staring down another loss.

And another season with the curse intact.


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