CHICAGO — Nervous time showed up late to the Wrigleyville party Friday night. It arrived unexpectedly and under the cover of darkness.

All day, starting at daybreak, the denizens of Chicago Cubs baseball poured into this neighborhood with great expectations. They were drinking beer at 5 a.m. They crowded the streets. They sang. They chanted.

For those who didn’t have a ticket to the game, bars were charging upwards of $200 cover charges to come in and watch on television. In the two hours leading up to first pitch, other bars and restaurants were charging $20 to $25 just for the privilege of entering the establishment to buy a drink, or dinner.

One person flew in from Asia without a ticket simply to be in Chicago to soak in the atmosphere. Another flew in from Belfast, Ireland. And those are two we know of without canvassing the block.

For those who did have a ticket to the game, the Wrigley Field gates, scheduled to open at 5 p.m., were opened some 40 minutes early, simply to relieve congestion on the streets.

Then, with the wind blowing out and conditions perfect for one of those high-scoring slugfests that Wrigley is famous for, Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin and the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks went to work. And in the seventh inning, a man with a breakfast-cereal name took a one-out hack that had the same effect as clicking “mute” on your television remote control.

Yes, nervous time showed up well before Coco Crisp swung and Cleveland’s ace bullpen delivered the gutsy 1-0 victory that catapulted the Indians to a two-games-to-one World Series lead with ace Corey Kluber ready to start Game 4 on short rest Saturday night.

Though Hendricks did a nice job of moving the ball around and avoiding damage, the Indians put nearly as much traffic on the bases as there was outside on Clark and Addison Streets. In each of the first five innings, Cleveland put at least one runner on base.

Then Crisp broke the ice, and down to their final nine outs at that point, Wrigley Field seemed to sway and writhe with each at-bat.

It should have been doable for Chicago. Cleveland manager Terry Francona went with relief ace Andrew Miller early, in the fifth, and Crisp’s hero moment came as he was pinch-hitting for Miller.

So Miller was gone for those final nine outs. But setup man Bryan Shaw and closer Cody Allen, as they were against Boston and Toronto, were enough.

“I knew during batting practice we just needed to get our hits,” said Ben Zobrist, one of the few Cubs who has been doing that with consistency this postseason. “Sometimes when you see the wind blowing out, you try to do too much.

“I didn’t see one particular guy doing it, but when you see the wind blowing out before a game, you start licking your chops more than you should. Hopefully that wasn’t the case tonight.”

Wrigleyville was licking its chops all day.

The Cubs? This was the fourth time this postseason they’ve been shut out.

Remember last year when they ran into the buzzsaw that was the New York Mets’ pitching? That was no small part of the reason for this year’s remodel, signing Zobrist and Jason Heyward.

Yet, the Cubs now become the first team since the 1905 Philadelphia Athletics to suffer four shutouts in a single postseason.

Ironic, isn’t it, that you have to go all the way back before the Cubs’ last World Series title in 1908 for that?

“It was our first time seeing [Tomlin], but he’s a fly-ball pitcher and the wind was blowing out,” Anthony Rizzo said. “It’s crazy how we don’t hit a fly ball.”

Tomlin is a nice pitcher who works the outer edges of the strike zone and is baffling when he’s on. He also surrendered 36 home runs this summer, third-most in the major leagues.

And zilch from the Cubs.

Now, here comes Kluber, which is why Friday night’s loss could become dangerously pivotal for the Cubs. They didn’t even dent him in Game 1 in Cleveland. If they don’t figure something out, they’re in real danger of falling behind three games to one.

“I know it’s hard to come back from 2-1,” Chicago catcher Miguel Montero said. “But we’ve been there before and come back.

“I know it’s different in the World Series, but it shouldn’t be different because we’ve got a good team.”

The Cubs are hanging their blue caps on the fact that since they just saw Kluber, he’ll be easier to hit this time. As far as Zobrist is concerned, “We’re going to have to beat Kluber, anyway” if the Cubs are to win the World Series.

So why not Saturday?

“We know what to expect now,” outfielder Jason Heyward said. “Just try to keep it simple. Not do too much. You’ve got to take what he gives you. He’s probably not going to give you a lot.”

But, the Cubs figured out Clayton Kershaw with repeated viewings. So…

“He’s on three days’ rest,” Rizzo said. “Just throwing it out there, he isn’t going to be as sharp as he was in the first game.”

Rizzo paused, then wryly added, “Even if he is, I’m going to convince myself that he’s not.”

It isn’t just Kluber. The Indians now are 23-0 this season in games in which Miller and Cody Allen both pitch.

And while the Cubs have been shut out four times this postseason, Cleveland’s pitching has been off the charts: The Indians have racked up five shutouts against Boston, Toronto and now Chicago.

Maybe the Cubs could have avoided this one, maybe, had Jorge Soler run hard out of the box in the seventh inning when he skied a ball down the right-field line that Lonnie Chisenhall couldn’t catch against the wall. Thinking it was a fly out at first, Soler jogged partway down the first-base line. When the ball ricocheted away from Chisenhall, Soler turned on the afterburners and wound up with a standup triple.

Zobrist didn’t think Soler could have made it all the way around to score.

“No,” he said. “Chisenhall got back to it quick enough that [Soler] wouldn’t have been able to make it even if he was sprinting out of the box.”

Even explaining it that way, you wonder how in the world any player can Cadillac it partway down the line in a World Series game. It was bad form, especially in such a close, tense game.

As it is, the Cubs’ margin for error is getting smaller by the day. On a historic night in Wrigleyville, it wasn’t the way things were supposed to turn out.


Scott Miller covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

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