Tag: Game Recap

MLB Rule 5 Draft 2016 Results: Team-by-Team Breakdown

The final day of the winter meetings Thursday means it’s time for all 30 teams to partake in the annual Major League Baseball Rule 5 draft, though clubs are under no obligation to make a selection. 

For those new to the process or just in need of a reminder, per MLB.com, the Rule 5 draft involves players not currently on a 40-man roster who have been in professional baseball for at least five years, if they signed at 18 years old, and four years, if they signed at 19 years old. 

Like the amateur draft in June, the selection order is determined by the reverse order of records from the previous season. Teams can pick or pass when their turn comes up, but if they pass, they forfeit the right to make a selection in subsequent rounds. 

Players selected must remain on their new team’s 25-man MLB roster for the entire season or they are offered back to their original team for a minuscule financial payment. 

With that out of the way, here are the players whose names were called during the 2016 MLB Rule 5 draft, per MLB.com

Notable Picks

Miguel Diaz to Minnesota Twins (Traded to San Diego Padres)

The San Diego Padres took a gamble on the upside of oft-injured, hard-throwing right-hander Miguel Diaz by making a trade with the Minnesota Twins, who took him with the first overall pick. 

MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo reported the deal between the Padres and Twins for Diaz. J.J. Cooper of Baseball America reported San Diego also appeared to be making a deal for catcher Luis Torrens, who was taken second by the Cincinnati Reds. 

Diaz was signed by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic. He made his professional debut the following season, but he has been unable to stay on the field for any length of time prior to 2016.

He suffered a fractured elbow in 2015 that required surgery, keeping him to just 20.1 innings all season. 

Last year, Diaz did set career highs in games (26), starts (15), innings pitched (94.2) and strikeouts (91) in the Midwest League (Low-A). The Padres also have an affiliate in that league, so their scouts certainly got a look at him in 2016. 

There is plenty of talent for the Twins to work with, as Diaz’s scouting report on MLB.com suggests:

When healthy, Diaz’s lightning-quick arm generates a fastball in the mid-90s with late movement from a high three-quarters slot. His slider, thrown in the 75-77 mph range with good lateral action, has the chance to be an out pitch if he can throw it for strikes. His changeup lags behind his two other offerings, but club officials believe it will become an effective third pitch for him once he creates better velocity separation relative to his heater.

The problem is Diaz has had so little time to develop in games because of his injuries, so despite being 22 years old, he’s only thrown 236 innings in five seasons. 

The Padres have gone all-in on rebuilding their roster, so taking a chance on a promising young arm who throws hard out of the bullpen is hardly a bad strategy for them to take. 

That’s asking a lot of a player who has never pitched beyond Low-A, though at least the Padres can see where Diaz is at during spring training to make a final determination. 


Anthony Santander to Baltimore Orioles

The last pick of the MLB Rule 5 draft is one of its most intriguing. Anthony Santander has not been lauded during his time in the Cleveland Indians system but has posted solid offensive numbers over the past two seasons. 

Though he only played 72 games due to injuries in an abbreviated 2015 season, Santander played in a career high 128 games last season and posted a .290/.368/.494 slash line with High-A Lynchburg. 

Tony Lastoria of Indians Baseball Insider noted some similarities between Santander’s swing and a former Cleveland All-Star:

He shows above average power with the potential to be more as he continues to mature and add strength to his frame and also refines his approach so he can get to his power more consistently. He attacks the baseball from both sides of the plate well with some quick wrists and good bat speed, but is also a well-rounded hitter who shows a feel for hitting and the ability to control the bat through the zone. He has an advanced, fundamental swing that is clean and well developed for his age, and has a load and leg kick that is similar to former Indian Victor Martinez.

This isn’t to suggest Santander will become Martinez at the plate, because Martinez has been one of MLB’s best hitters over the past decade, but there are raw tools for the Baltimore Orioles to work with. 

In this current era of the Rule 5 draft, where everything is so watered down to the point it’s virtually impossible to turn these picks into anything meaningful, Santander is the perfect pick because he’s a quality hitter with power who might give a team something, even if it’s just as a fourth outfielder. 


Justin Haley to Los Angeles Angels (Traded to Twins)

The Twins stocked up on intriguing pitchers in this draft, making a trade with the Los Angeles Angels to acquire right-handed starter Justin Haley. 

Per Bernie Pleskoff of Today’s Knuckleball, the Twins are expected to send cash back to the Angels in the deal. 

Haley spent significant time at Triple-A last season for the Boston Red Sox. He pitched 85.1 innings over 14 starts at that level with a 3.59 ERA. He didn’t overpower opposing hitters, with 67 strikeouts at Pawtucket, but he only allowed 70 hits. 

Per Cooper, Haley is able to succeed on a combination of command and quality off-speed pitches:

As a starter, Haley’s velocity ticked up as the season warmed up. Late in the season he was sitting 90-92, but his fastball plays up because he locates it well. He also has an above-average slider as well as a useable curveball and changeup. He was dominant in Double-A this year and solid in Triple-A as a starter.

Haley fits the old Twins model of starting pitching that featured the likes of Carl Pavano, Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn: throw a lot of strikes and rack up innings. 

Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press heard another comp for Haley:

It’s not a glamorous profile, but the Twins are coming off a 103-loss season and just need to find starters who are capable of giving them innings to ease pressure on the bullpen. 

Among the players selected during the draft, Haley is one of the few who actually has a strong chance to stick in the big leagues with his new team in 2017. 

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Cubs Parade 2016: Twitter Reaction, Photos, Videos and More

The city of Chicago threw a party 108 years in the making Friday.

Long-suffering fans of the Chicago Cubs packed the streets of the Windy City to watch the World Series parade that celebrated the team’s first championship since 1908. According to Chicago Bulls announcer Chuck Swirsky, television reports estimated that six million people attended the parade.

President of baseball operations Theo Epstein said of the party, “It exceeded my expectations by about tenfold. It was way bigger than Boston,” per Daniel Kramer of MLB.com.

The celebration started in Wrigley Field on the city’s north side and wound its way to Michigan Avenue downtown before culminating in Grant Park for a rally, as the Chicago Tribune highlighted:

Fans wasted little time filing into Grant Park, per NBC Chicago:

SportsCenter shared a look at the massive crowds hours before the team arrived for the rally:

The city prepared for the parade by dying the Chicago River a shade of Cubs blue, as the Chicago Tribune and Justin Breen of DNAinfo Chicago shared:

As players started boarding the bus, Wrigley Field was still flying the “W” flag that will likely remain above the scoreboard for the offseason:

Catcher David Ross provided a glimpse of his bus, while battery-mate Jon Lester had to look out for his head as the caravan made its way toward downtown:

The Cubs shared a look at a handful of the buses:

It was pure, cathartic bedlam by the time the parade reached Michigan Avenue, as Fox Sports MLB passed along:

Anthony Rizzo shared his exuberance with the crowd, per Dionne Miller of ABC Chicago:

Brad Edwards of CBS Chicago and Fox Sports MLB shared overviews of the scene:

The parade eventually reached Grant Park, where Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes played the role of emcee. Team owner Tom Ricketts talked about the chance to finally tell desperate fans they won the World Series, per Fox Sports MLB:

Epstein discussed the rebuilding process and joked about this year’s slogan, per CBS Sports MLB: “Let’s be honest, for a while there, we forgot the ‘not’ in ‘try not to suck.'”

Epstein gave way to manager Joe Maddon, who called the massive crowds “Cubstock 2016,” per Sarah Spain of ESPN. Maddon also had another task, as Tony Andracki of CSN Chicago described: “Maddon immediately thanks wife after getting to podium. Theo runs over to have Maddon thank Mrs. Epstein too, because Theo forgot that part.”

The Cubs shared a look at that Cubstock crowd in Grant Park:

Hughes then introduced the players after Maddon. Dexter Fowler was the first player to speak, but Lester was the first one to swear, as Brett Taylor of Bleacher Nation described:

Miguel Montero, Kyle Schwarber and World Series MVP Ben Zobrist also spoke, and Zobrist said, “This is a team full of MVPs, and we’re in a city of MVPs,” per 670 The Score in Chicago.

Rizzo took the stage after Zobrist and broke into tears when he introduced Ross and talked about how the veteran mentored him and the rest of the young players. Ross also got choked up and lifted the World Series trophy, as Fox Sports MLB documented:

Rizzo gave the ball from the final out of the World Series to Ricketts before the team and singer Brett Eldredge belted out “Go Cubs Go” with the crowd.

It was the party of a lifetime for generations of Cubs fans, but it may be the first of many if Epstein continues to operate his well-oiled machine on the city’s north side.

Chicago won an MLB-best 103 games this year and features a young core of position players. Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Schwarber, Javier Baez, Jason Heyward, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora Jr. and Willson Contreras are all 27 years old or younger.

It is not a stretch to suggest they could add to the 2016 title, especially after proving they can deliver on the biggest of stages in the clutch moments.

Game 7 appeared to slip from the Cubs’ grasp when Rajai Davis drilled a game-tying home run off Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning. However, the Cubs rallied following a rain delay and received critical run-scoring hits from Zobrist and Montero in the 10th.

Thanks to the 2016 team, future Cubs squads will no longer be under the burden of history and an extensive World Series drought.

Now the talented players who Epstein and the front office brought to Chicago will turn their attention toward the 2017 season, where they are already listed as championship favorites on Odds Shark.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Cubs Win 2016 World Series: Highlights, Twitter Reaction to Celebration

The Chicago Cubs won their first World Series since 1908, and it only feels appropriate that they put their dedicated fans through one of the most back-and-forth, stress-inducing baseball games in recent memory.

They prevailed, 8-7, against the Cleveland Indians in Wednesday’s Game 7 at Progressive Field in a 10-inning battle that saw a dramatic game-tying home run off Aroldis Chapman from Cleveland’s Rajai Davis in the eighth, a rain delay after the ninth and three combined runs in that extra inning.

Ben Zobrist notched an RBI double in the 10th and earned World Series MVP honors. The team shared him accepting his trophy:

The Cubs also passed along a clip of the final out with the potential winning run at the plate and captured manager Joe Maddon holding the Commissioner’s Trophy:

The players naturally reacted to the historic accomplishment, via the Cubs:

While the players made the headlines, the long-suffering fans were more than ready to join in on the fun. Wall to Wall Sports of 10TV in Columbus, Ohio, captured hundreds of those supporters singing in ecstasy after the championship victory.

The fans outside Wrigley Field also soaked in the moment:

The Cubs’ most famous fan reacted to the triumph, via SportsCenter

Bill Murray wasn’t the only celebrity pleased to see Chicago break the curse, as Kyle Griffin of MSNBC noted:

Snapping a 108-year championship drought didn’t happen by accident; this team won an MLB-best 103 games this season, the culmination of president of baseball operations Theo Epstein’s rebuilding plan that has been in motion since he took over in 2011. 

Dexter Fowler, Javier Baez and David Ross all hit home runs, Zobrist and Miguel Montero drove in crucial runs in the 10th inning, Jon Lester pitched three innings out of the bullpen after starting Game 5, starter Kyle Hendricks allowed one earned run in 4.2 innings and Mike Montgomery earned a cathartic save.

Sports Illustrated captured the deserving celebration:

Now attention will turn toward the 2017 season as the team that hadn’t won a title in over a century looks to defend its crown. Chicago is well-equipped to compete for years to come with a young core that includes Anthony Rizzo (27), Kris Bryant (24), Addison Russell (22), Baez (23) and Willson Contreras (24), among others. 

Even if the Cubs add a handful of titles in the coming years, their fans will never forget the one that ended the suffering. 

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Cubs vs. Indians: Game 7 Score and Twitter Reaction from 2016 World Series

There was the billy goat. Then there was the black cat. Then Steve Bartman. There was more than a century of gross mismanagement, poor ownership and heartbreak.

Then came president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. Then manager Joe Maddon. And then Wednesday night, Ben Zobrist and Miguel Montero joined Chicago Cubs folklore by driving in a pair of runs in the top of the 10th inning to give their team a thrilling 8-7 win over the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.

In all, the Cubs hit three solo home runs on their way to their first World Series victory since 1908.

Left-hander Mike Montgomery recorded the game’s final out, which came only after Rajai Davis drove in a run to make one of the most captivating games in World Series history close again.

MLB captured the Cubs’ moment of triumph:

The Cubs broke the longest championship drought in MLB history but nearly broke the spirit of their fans in the process by exorcising their demons in the most excruciating way possible. 

First, they dug themselves a 3-1 hole and left themselves seemingly insurmountable odds at a comeback. No team in the past 30 years had won the Fall Classic after finding itself in that hole, and 1979 was the last time a team had won Games 6 and 7 on the road. Since MLB instituted the 2-3-2 format in 1925, only five teams had pulled off the comeback. 

For the game’s first half, the Cubs showed no signs of succumbing to the moment, holding a 5-1 lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning. Dexter Fowler did not waste any time at the top of the first, belting a leadoff home run over the center field fence on the game’s fourth pitch from Indians starter Corey Kluber.

It was the first-ever leadoff home run in a World Series Game 7. Jon Greenberg of The Athletic commented on the Cubs contingent in the Progressive Field crowd:

The Indians tied the game on a Carlos Santana single in the bottom of the third inning, but by the fourth, Chicago’s bats were ablaze.

Addison Russell and Willson Contreras drove in a pair of runs to put the Cubs up 3-1 before Baez and Anthony Rizzo made it 5-1 at the top of the fifth. Baez ran Kluber out of the game with a 408-foot home run over the right-center field fence, atoning for an error in the bottom of the third. 

ESPN Stats & Info passed along a historic number on the blast:

Kluber gave up four runs in four innings after giving up a lone run over 12 innings in Games 1 and 4.

The Indians then handed the ball to ace reliever Andrew Miller. The American League Championship Series MVP had been the bedrock of their bullpen all postseason, but he did not fare much better. The lefty walked Kris Bryant, and Rizzo scored him with a single.

ESPN The Magazine‘s Buster Olney had some lofty praise:

Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks was pitching well, and the path to victory looked clear: Give Hendricks one more inning, and then let Jon Lester and Aroldis Chapman close things out.

Maddon did not see it that way and nearly became the modern face of Cubsian failure.

The manager, who received criticism for his handling of the Cubs bullpen in Game 6, pulled Hendricks in the fifth after he walked Carlos Santana. Lester, who was throwing on short rest, stepped in along with catcher David Ross.

Things went awry almost immediately, as Jason Kipnis made it to second after a throwing error by Ross. Then Lester’s wild pitch bounced off Ross’ helmet and allowed two Indians runners to score. Francisco Lindor struck out swinging to put an end to the inning.

At the top of the sixth, Ross temporarily halted the Indians’ momentum, blasting a 406-foot solo home run off Miller in Ross’ final MLB game. After going his first 16 postseason innings without giving up a single run, Miller coughed up three in his final 3.1—including two homers. 

Jordan Bastian of MLB.com nonetheless highlighted Miller’s historic postseason:

Lester seemed to settle down after Ross’ home run, getting through the sixth and seventh without allowing a run. But Maddon was again quick to pull the proverbial trigger after Lester gave up an infield single with two outs in the eighth.          

Like in the fifth, Maddon’s decision blew up in his face. Chapman entered the game and immediately gave up an RBI double to Brandon Guyer prior to a game-tying two-run homer to Davis. The veteran has all of 55 home runs over his 11 seasons and hit it just barely over the left field fence to knot it up, via MLB on Twitter:

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports noted Chapman’s tired arm:

The social media wolves came out in full force:

The teams then endured a stress-inducing ninth inning, with the Cubs blowing a chance with a runner on third base and one out. Cleveland’s skies opened, causing a brief rain delay that seemingly gave the Cubs a moment to catch their collective breath.

Kyle Schwarber singled to start the 10th inning, and Rizzo got on via an intentional walk. That sequence set up Zobrist and Montero to play the heroes.

First, Zobrist hit an RBI double into the left field gap. Then, Cleveland intentionally walked Addison Russell, and Montero followed him with an RBI single that scored Rizzo.

Forced to go to his bullpen, Maddon handed the ball to Carl Edwards Jr., who recorded two outs before walking Guyer. Davis scored Guyer on a single, and Montgomery came in to close it out for Chicago. 

The Cubs’ win seemingly cements 2016 as the year of the 3-1 lead. Roughly four months ago, the city of Cleveland was basking in the glow of its own historic comeback—the Cavaliers were the first team in NBA Finals history to come back from such a deficit. LeBron James, J.R. Smith and members of the Cavs were even in attendance Wednesday.

Members of the Golden State Warriors took notice:

More than anything, though, this is the culmination of a journey many thought would never end. The ghosts of Ryne Sandberg, Ernie Banks, Mark Prior and Kerry Wood can rest easy. Maddon even did his best Dusty Baker impersonation.

In the end, nothing—not mismanagement, not a torrential downpour, not Steve Bartman himself and not a dangerous Indians team—could stop the Cubs.

Postgame Reaction

Baez shared a look at the Commissioner’s Trophy on Instagram: 

Zobrist offered his thoughts, per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers:

The Chicago Cubs posted a comment from Rizzo on Twitter:

Indians reliever Cody Allen offered his response, per Jordan Bastian of MLB.com:   


Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Cubs vs. Indians: Game 6 Score and Twitter Reaction from 2016 World Series

Get your 3-1 jokes out of the way now.

Thanks to a 9-3 win over the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on Tuesday night, the Chicago Cubs knotted the World Series at three games apiece and will have a chance to cap a comeback of epic proportions in Game 7 on Wednesday night.

The Cubs entered Game 6 having scored five runs over the last three games, but they dwarfed that total by the time the third inning was over.

Kris Bryant opened the scoring with a two-out solo home run in the first inning off Josh Tomlin:

That was just the start of an offensive avalanche, as Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist followed Bryant’s lead with back-to-back singles and the Indians came unraveled when Tyler Naquin and Lonnie Chisenhall misplayed a fly ball by Addison Russell that plated both baserunners.

The New York Post‘s Joel Sherman broke down Cleveland’s first-inning collapse:

As it turned out, Russell had even more left in the tank.

The Cubs loaded the bases and chased Tomlin one out into the third, and Russell stepped to the plate to deliver a decisive blow:

According to USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale, Russell’s grand slam was the first in franchise history in World Series history and the first by any player in the Fall Classic since the Chicago White Sox’s Paul Konerko in 2005.

Cubs starter Jake Arrieta didn’t allow a hit through three innings, but the Indians threatened in a big way when the bottom of the fourth rolled around.

Mike Napoli singled to score Jason Kipnis, who had led off with a double, and Cleveland proceeded to load the bases with two outs. Naquin, however, struck out.

ESPN The Magazine‘s Buster Olney relayed some telling numbers to emphasize just how much the rookie has struggled against Arrieta in the Fall Classic:

Kipnis slammed a solo homer off Arrieta to cut the Indians’ deficit to 7-2 with two outs in the fifth, and Chicago’s starter recorded three more outs before he walked Chisenhall and was pulled in favor of Mike Montgomery. All told, Arrieta allowed two runs on three hits, three walks and one hit batter and struck out nine.

As ESPN Stats & Info noted, that last figure put him near the top of an esteemed list:

Aroldis Chapman—who recorded an eight-out save in Game 5—entered with two on and two out in the seventh, and he induced an inning-ending groundout, beating Francisco Lindor to the bag by a hair, as Fox Sports MLB showed on Twitter:

Chapman also pitched a scoreless eighth, and Rizzo tacked on a two-run shot to right field in the top of the ninth.

With two straight victories in tow, the Cubs now face the possibility of ending their 108-year championship drought in a Game 7 that will feel somewhat familiar, according to NFL.com’s Don Banks:

Per MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat, a team hasn’t come back from 3-1 down and won a World Series on the road since the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979.

But in order to do so, Chicago will need to solve Corey Kluber—who will make his second straight start on three days’ rest in Game 7. In the World Series, Cleveland’s ace is 2-0 and has allowed only one run on nine hits, one walk and a hit batter while striking out 15 over 12 innings.

If Kluber turns in another dominant outing, the Indians will be in line to snap their title drought—which dates to 1948.

The Cubs, meanwhile, will counter with Kyle Hendricks. The National League ERA leader played the role of hero in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, holding the Los Angeles Dodgers to two hits in 7.1 innings, but Chicago lost his only World Series start after Cleveland got to him for six hits over 4.1 innings in Game 3.

So, if recent history is any indication, runs should be at a premium with Kluber and Hendricks on the bump.

In other words, expect plenty of drama as tensions rise with a world championship on the line Wednesday night.


Postgame Reaction

Cubs manager Joe Maddon spoke to Fox Sports’ Tom Verducci about his decision to leave Chapman in for 20 pitches:

Later, Maddon told reporters a certain starter will be available in relief in Game 7, according to Pete Byrne of WSBT in Indiana:

Chapman said he’ll be available to pitch as long as necessary, even though he’s assumed a heavy workload of late, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi:

Indians manager Terry Francona was upbeat despite the loss, via SportsTime Ohio:

“It’s Game 7,” Francona said, according to Newsday‘s Erik Boland. “You’ve got two really, really good pitchers, and it will be exciting.”

“It’ll be exciting to come to the ballpark tomorrow,” he added, per the Toronto Sun‘s Scott Mitchell. “Shoot, I might just wear my uniform home.”

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Indians vs. Cubs: Game 5 Score and Twitter Reaction from 2016 World Series

The Chicago Cubs will live to fight another day after beating the Cleveland Indians 3-2 at home Sunday night at Wrigley Field in Game 5 of the 2016 World Series.

After a somewhat shaky start in Game 1 of the Fall Classic, Jon Lester went six strong innings for Chicago. He allowed two earned runs on four hits and struck out five.

Trevor Bauer started well but lasted only four innings after giving up three runs. Although he struck out seven, a couple of critical mistakes allowed the Cubs to take control.

Jose Ramirez got the Indians on the board in the top of the second with a solo home run to left field. The 24-year-old third baseman hadn’t homered on the road since getting two during a doubleheader on May 23 against the Chicago White Sox.

MLB.com’s Daren Willman showed that Lester couldn’t have placed his fastball much better in the strike zone:

Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan thought the most impressive part of the sequence was the throwing of the home run ball back into the field of play:

Getting the first run was big for Cleveland, considering it hadn’t surrendered a lead throughout the postseason.

Bauer couldn’t maintain the advantage, though, surrendering three runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Kris Bryant led off with a solo home run to left field to tie the game at 1. MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian tweeted the homer brought the Wrigley Field crowd to its feet:

Anthony Rizzo stepped to the plate next and doubled to right field. A single from Ben Zobrist put runners on the corners with nobody out, and Addison Russell plated Rizzo with an infield single. After Jason Heyward struck out, the Cubs loaded the bases on a bunt single by Javier Baez. David Ross then made it a 3-1 game with a sacrifice fly.

Bauer struck out Lester to end the inning. The Ringer thought the Indians dodged a bullet having allowed the right-hander to finish out the inning:

The Cubs rode their luck with Lester a half-inning later and appeared to get a helping hand from home plate umpire Tony Randazzo.

Carlos Santana led off the fifth with a double, and the left fielder moved to third on a groundout by Ramirez. Brandon Guyer came up next and struck out looking on a 3-2 fastball. FanGraphs’ Jeff Sullivan showed the pitch looked off the plate, and he added how much the call impacted the game:

Roberto Perez grounded out to end the threat and maintain Chicago’s two-run lead.

An inning later, Francisco Lindor trimmed the deficit with an RBI single to center field to bring home Rajai Davis. The 22-year-old shortstop has had a great postseason, and Baseball America‘s Ben Badler believes he’s a great ambassador for the game:

MLB Network’s Jon Morosi also shared words of admiration toward Lindor from Cubs manager Joe Maddon:

Lindor got caught trying to steal second to end the inning. Ross made a great throw, and Baez’s quick tag nailed Lindor.

Lester’s issues throwing over to first are well-documented, and the Indians have exploited that in both of his World Series starts. The New York Post‘s Joel Sherman tweeted that Ross and Baez are the perfect combination to eliminate the problem:

The Indians mounted another offensive charge in the top of the seventh, which prompted a surprising move by Maddon.

Carl Edwards Jr. replaced Lester to start the inning. He allowed a single to Mike Napoli, and a passed ball moved Napoli to second base. After Santana flied out for the first out of the seventh, Maddon brought on his closer, Aroldis Chapman.

Chapman struck out Ramirez. He then hit Brandon Guyer with a pitch to put runners on first and second but got Perez to ground out for the final out.

As ESPN’s Jayson Stark noted, the left-hander got out of the jam with blunt force:

Chapman was in another jam in the eighth after allowing Davis to single with one out. The veteran outfielder stole second and then third, putting the tying run 90 feet away from home plate. But Lindor stranded Davis at third after striking out on a 101 mph fastball.

Lindor had little chance of reaching the pitch at the bottom of the zone, as Sullivan argued:

Chapman stayed out for the ninth and sent Napoli, Santana and Ramirez down in order to earn the win.

The series will head back to Cleveland for at least one more game. First pitch in Game 6 is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Josh Tomlin will take the mound for the Indians, with Jake Arrieta going for the Cubs. Tomlin went 4.2 scoreless innings in his first World Series start, while Arrieta allowed one run in Game 2 as Chicago picked up its first win.

A key for the Indians will be that Andrew Miller had Sunday night off, giving him two rest days before Game 6. That should allow the dominant left-hander to potentially go two innings if need be Tuesday.

Of course, Chicago will have the luxury of Kyle Schwarber in the lineup with the designated hitter back in play.

While the Indians remain in the driver’s seat, the Cubs can change that with a victory in Game 6.


Postgame Reaction

Indians manager Terry Francona praised Chapman for pitching the final 2.2 innings, per the Boston Herald‘s Jason Mastrodonato: “Chapman, that was a big ask. And he answered. That was impressive.”

Maddon had prepared for the potential of using his closer earlier than expected.

“I talked to Chapman before the game, and he was aware of being ready in the seventh inning,” he said, according to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball.

The Indians have a bit of a buffer in the event they lose Game 6; Corey Kluber would take the mound if necessary in Game 7. Kluber has been excellent in the postseason, allowing three earned runs in 30.1 innings.

Jason Kipnis would rather Cleveland not have to rely on the 2014 Cy Young Award winner.

“You don’t want to give lineups like that momentum, or teams to start feeling good about themselves,” he said of the Cubs, according to USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale. “So the best thing to do is kind of put them away before they can do that.”

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Indians vs. Cubs: Game 4 Score and Twitter Reaction from 2016 World Series

After letting their pitching do most of the work through the first three games of the 2016 World Series, the Cleveland Indians let their bats put them one win away from a championship with a 7-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs in Game 4 on Saturday night. 

Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis had the big blasts, with the latter being a three-run shot in the top of the seventh inning that put the Indians up 7-1. 

The Cubs couldn’t have asked for a better start to the game. They jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Dexter Fowler doubled to lead off and was driven in on Anthony Rizzo’s RBI single. 

Considering how overmatched the Cubs looked against Cleveland starter Corey Kluber in Game 1, those two hits and an early lead were a huge step in the right direction. 

Getting off to such an opening this postseason has been the successful formula for both of these teams. The Cubs had won their previous five playoff games when scoring first. 

The Indians made sure things would not be that easy. Santana, who was starting at first base and hitting cleanup in place of Mike Napoli, tied the score with a home run that cut through the wind at Wrigley Field. 

That would not be the only run Cleveland got against John Lackey in the second inning.

After the Cubs intentionally walked Tyler Naquin to pitch to Kluber, Cleveland’s ace worked an eight-pitch at-bat before hitting a swinging bunt that led to a bad throw to first base from Kris Bryant and allowed Lonnie Chisenhall to score. 

Zack Meisel of Cleveland.com had fun with Kluber’s hitting stats this season after the single:

The Indians tacked on another run against Lackey in the third inning after Kipnis doubled to lead off and Francisco Lindor singled. 

It was Lindor’s first RBI of the World Series, with Baseball Tonight noting it was also a historic one from the young shortstop:

Kluber soon continued his postseason excellence. After allowing two hits and one run in the first inning, Cleveland’s ace held the Cubs to three over the next five. He wasn’t quite as sharp with his command as Game 1, but he worked around damage at key moments.

For instance, Rizzo doubled to start the sixth inning but was left stranded at second when Ben Zobrist flied out, Willson Contreras struck out and Addison Russell grounded out. 

With the Indians needing to keep a close watch on Kluber’s pitches for another potential start on three days’ rest if the series is extended to seven games, he was lifted after six innings. The right-hander allowed five hits and struck out six Cubs. 

T.J. Zuppe of 92.3 The Fan provided the updated postseason stat line for Kluber after Saturday:

The Indians knew coming into the playoffs they needed Kluber to essentially fulfill the role Madison Bumgarner played for the San Francisco Giants in 2014. So far, so good. 

Skip Bayless of Fox Sports 1 offered this assessment of the series so far:

The news was not all good for Cleveland, though no one is likely to complain. Andrew Miller, who had never given up a run in his playoff career coming into Saturday’s game, allowed a leadoff homer to Fowler in the eighth inning.

Meisel provided the heavily inflated ERA for Miller after giving up the blast:

It was a curious decision by Cleveland manager Terry Francona to have Miller pitch two innings in a game his team was winning by six runs. The big lefty threw 27 pitches one night after appearing in Game 3 for 17 pitches. 

From a Cubs perspective, while the pitching was not good, the offense remains a huge problem. ESPN’s Freddie Coleman provided the information everyone in Chicago can see:

Looking ahead to Sunday’s fifth game, the Cubs are set up well to at least send the series back to Cleveland. Jon Lester will take the mound for his second start of the World Series. He did battle through 5.2 innings in Game 1, allowing three runs on six hits, but he still struck out seven. 

The Indians will counter with Trevor Bauer, who struggled in Game 2. The right-hander gave up six hits, two runs and two walks to go with two strikeouts in 3.2 innings. 

Lester has the playoff resume, with a 2.60 ERA in 124.2 career innings. He’s the guy the Cubs want on the mound in this spot. It’s on him to deliver to keep Chicago’s dream season alive for at least one more game.


Postgame Reaction

Even though the Indians are riding high after their third win of the World Series, Kluber made sure to note they can’t get complacent now, per Jordan Bastian and Carrie Muskat of MLB.com: 

I think we like the position we’re in, but the task isn’t done yet. We still have one more game to win, and I think we’re gonna show up tomorrow and we’re gonna play with the same sense of urgency that we’ve played with to this point. We don’t want to let them feel like they’re building momentum or getting back in the Series.

Francona echoed the sentiments of his star pitcher. 

“Nothing changes,” Francona said, per Bastian and Muskat. “We’re going to show up [on Sunday]. The only thing that changes is we’ll pack our bags, because we’re going to go home one way or the other. We’ll show up and try to beat a really good pitcher [on Sunday], and that’s what we always do. Nothing needs to change.”

Kipnis, who grew up a Cubs fan and was born in Northbrook, Illinois, tried to explain what hitting a home run in the World Series at Wrigley Field meant to him, per Meisel:

Cubs manager Joe Maddon acknowledged his team’s defensive miscues but once again emphasized the offense needing to step up. 

“So we made mistakes,” Maddon said, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). “Absolutely, we made mistakes tonight. That was part of it. But then again, we just have to do more offensively to give ourselves a chance.”

Maddon did take comfort in knowing he will have Lester on the mound in Game 5. 

“To have a guy who’s [a] been-there, done-that kind of a guy and been very successful, been a World Series champion, he knows what the feeling is like—he knows what it takes,” Maddon said, per Jamal Collier of MLB.com. “It’s definitely comforting to the rest of the group for [Sunday].”

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Indians vs. Cubs: Game 3 Score and Twitter Reaction from 2016 World Series

The song remains the same for the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series, as they used outstanding pitching and timely hitting to secure a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs and a 2-1 series lead. 

Cleveland also set a new Major League Baseball record in the process, per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian:

Despite the wind blowing out at Wrigley, offense was nearly impossible to come by for both teams. The Indians had ample scoring opportunities against Kyle Hendricks, putting their leadoff hitter on three times in the first five innings, but were undone by two double plays. 

Hendricks was pulled with one out in the fifth inning and the bases loaded. Francisco Lindor, who was 2-for-2 at that point, grounded into an inning-ending double play to preserve the scoreless tie. 

Per ESPN Stats & Info, the Indians were able to avoid double plays throughout the postseason before Friday:

On the Cubs side, they didn’t create scoring opportunities against Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin. They mustered just two hits and one walk on the right-hander in 4.2 innings.  

This was Tomlin’s third postseason start, and he’s only allowed nine hits and three runs in 15.1 innings. There were big questions about Cleveland’s starting depth behind Corey Kluber when the playoffs began, but Tomlin has given manager Terry Francona exactly what he’s needed. 

Per CBS Sports’ Jonah Keri, Tomlin’s success was dictated by his ability to mostly avoid the middle part of the plate:

Tomlin was pulled before the fifth inning was completed because the Cubs got Jorge Soler to second base. Andrew Miller was brought in to keep the game scoreless, which he was able to do when Miguel Montero lined out to right field. 

The Indians finally broke through in the top of the seventh inning when Coco Crisp delivered a pinch-hit RBI single that scored Michael Martinez for a 1-0 lead. 

Per Baseball Reference, Crisp became just the fourth player in the last 16 years to record a pinch-hit go-ahead RBI:

However, the downside for that was Cleveland had to remove Miller after he threw just 17 pitches and struck out the side in the bottom half of the sixth to make it happen.

In case you were wondering, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted out the still-ridiculous numbers for Miller this postseason:

Cody Allen was still lurking in the ‘pen, but Francona went with Bryan Shaw in the seventh inning. 

The Cubs were given a gift with two outs when Cleveland right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall misplayed a ball off the bat of Jorge Soler that was scored as a triple. But Javier Baez grounded out to end the threat. 

Shaw recorded five outs before a two-out single in the eighth inning by Dexter Fowler sent Francona to the mound for Allen to record the last four outs. 

There was plenty of drama in the bottom of the ninth inning against Allen. Anthony Rizzo led off with a single and was lifted for pinch-runner Chris Coghlan. Ben Zobrist struck out and Willson Contreras grounded out, leaving Jason Heyward with a shot at redemption for his forgettable debut season in Chicago. 

Heyward did reach base after Cleveland first baseman Mike Napoli was charged with an error trying to corral a difficult hop, leaving runners on first and third for Baez. Allen got Chicago’s young star to chase a high fastball for strike three to end the game. 

The Cubs bats have been silenced through three games in this series, even factoring in their five-run output in Game 2, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Bleacher Report’s Danny Knobler noted the Cubs also tied a 111-year-old record with their loss on Friday:

Even though the Cubs playing their first World Series game at Wrigley in 71 years was the dominant story before first pitch, Cleveland’s continued excellence on the mound remains the biggest story of the postseason. 

Joe Posnanski of NBC Sports is marveling at what the Indians have done given the competition they have faced:

That pitching has been necessary because Cleveland’s offense has scored a total of 35 runs in 11 playoff games. 

This game couldn’t have worked out better for Francona heading into Game 4. Corey Kluber, who threw just 88 pitches in six shutout innings in Game 1, will start. Miller will likely have no restrictions after throwing fewer than 20 pitches on Friday after not pitching the previous two days. 

The Cubs will counter with John Lackey, who has given up five runs in eight innings this postseason. It’s the only game of the series in which Cleveland will have a decided advantage in the pitching matchup, which makes Friday’s win even more crucial for the American League champions. 

The Cubs were just in this position during the National League Championship Series and proceeded to rattle off three consecutive wins, starting with a 10-2 victory in Game 4 when Lackey started. 

In other words, this series remains far from over. 


Postgame Reaction

The Indians were in unfamiliar territory playing in a National League park, which led to Francona navigating his bench with multiple double-switches that left him little wiggle room in the event the game would have gone to extra innings. 

Francona was aware of the situation he put his team in with all of the moves made during the game. 

“We needed to win that game in 9 [innings],” Francona said after the win, per Nick Camino of WTAM 1100. 

Cleveland pitching coach Mickey Callaway offered high praise for the work being done by Francona in this postseason. 

“He almost used some guys tonight that weren’t on the roster,” Callaway said, per Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “There’s no better manager than him.”

Tomlin, who once again continues to defy all expectations this October, said there was no magic formula for holding the Cubs at bay in Game 3. 

“Just kind of knowing what the game plan was going in, and just trying to execute,” Tomlin said, per Bastian and Carrie Muskat of MLB.com. “You leave the ball over the heart of the plate with those guys, they can put up a crooked number in a hurry. So it was about trying to execute pitches and keep them off balance as much as I could.”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon did have some criticism for the way his offense went about attacking Cleveland’s pitching.

“I thought it was a well-played game,” Maddon said, per Bastian and Muskat of MLB.com. “I thought we played great defense again tonight. We were just out of the zone way too often. We’ve got to get our strike zones organized offensively, and if we do, we’ll be fine.”

In their Game 2 win, the Cubs were able to work eight walks against Indians pitchers to go along with nine hits. They had just one walk Friday. 

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Indians vs. Cubs World Series Game 3: Live Score and Highlights

Another dominant pitching performance from Cleveland’s entire staff was combined with one clutch hit to give the Indians a 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the World Series at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The Indians take a 2-1 lead in the series, halfway to their first title since 1948.

Pinch hitter Coco Crisp singled in Michael Martinez with one out in the top of the seventh for the game’s only run, all Cleveland would need with four pitchers combining on a five-hitter. Starter Josh Tomlin only allowed two hits but was pulled after 4 2/3 innings to make way for Andrew Miller, who threw 1 1/3 innings to pick up the while Bryan Shaw went 1 2/3 innings and closer Cody Allen finished it with 1 1/3 innings.

Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks struck out six but allowed six hits in 4 1/3 scoreless innings, the first of six pitchers for the Cubs. It was Carl Edwards who got the loss.

The Cubs were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and had zero hits with runners on base. Jorge Soler tripled with two outs in the eighth and didn’t score, and in the ninth they had runners on second and third with two out but Javier Baez struck out to end the game.

The Indians will send ace Corey Kluber out for Game 4 on Saturday, while the Cubs will send veteran John Lackey to try to even the series.

Scroll down for all of our updates, analysis, pictures, tweets and anything else worth noting from Chicago.


Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.

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Cubs vs. Indians: Game 2 Score and Twitter Reaction from 2016 World Series

The Cleveland Indians had home-field advantage entering the World Series because the American League won the 2016 All-Star Game, but the Chicago Cubs seized it Wednesday with a 5-1 victory in Game 2 at Progressive Field.

The series is tied at one game apiece thanks to a strong pitching performance from Chicago. 

Starter Jake Arrieta took a no-hitter into the sixth and allowed just one earned run and two hits in 5.2 innings of work. Mike Montgomery and Aroldis Chapman combined to close the door with 3.1 innings of scoreless work out of the bullpen. 

Cleveland didn’t get nearly as much from its staff. Trevor Bauer started and lasted just 3.2 innings while allowing two earned runs and six hits. It was an improvement from Game 3 of the American League Championship Series when he pitched only 0.2 innings before leaving because a laceration on the pinkie finger of his pitching hand was bleeding on his uniform and the ball.

Zach McAllister also gave up two earned runs from Cleveland’s bullpen. 

Kyle Schwarber and Ben Zobrist led the offensive attack for the Cubs with two hits apiece. Schwarber tallied two RBI and scored a run, while Zobrist scored and added an RBI of his own. Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell also tallied RBI on Wednesday.

The Cubs could have scored more, but they left 13 runners on base, per MLB.com.

Cleveland received two hits from Mike Napoli and a run from Jason Kipnis, but its offense managed just four hits all game.

The Cubs scored their first World Series run in 71 years in the first inning, when Kris Bryant singled and scored on Rizzo’s double. David Schuster of 670 The Score in Chicago noted it was an important start for the Cubs after being shut out in Game 1 against Corey Kluber, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen:

Cleveland battled back with two walks in the bottom of the frame, but Arrieta escaped the jam with a deep flyout from Jose Ramirez.

Chicago got to Bauer again in the third when Rizzo walked, advanced to second on Zobrist’s single and scored on Schwarber’s hit. Schwarber tore his ACL and LCL in April and was expected to miss the season, but he battled back for the Fall Classic and made his presence known in Game 2. 

Jason Goff of 670 The Score in Chicago reacted to Schwarber’s remarkable comeback:

The Cubs drove Bauer from the game in the fourth after he walked Willson Contreras and allowed a single to Russell, but he did induce a double play from Jorge Soler following Contreras’ free pass to prevent a costly rally.

On the other side, Arrieta didn’t allow a hit through the first four innings despite three walks. Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reacted to his start:

Chicago provided him with additional run support in the fifth, when Rizzo walked and scored on a hit down the line from Zobrist. Right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall slipped on the play, which allowed Rizzo to score easily and Zobrist to advance to third.

Schwarber tacked another on with an RBI single, and Russell drew a walk with the bases loaded to make it 5-0 after a Kipnis error extended the inning.

Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com was already looking ahead to Game 3 at Wrigley Field, where designated hitting won’t be an option for Schwarber:

The Indians had a comeback story of their own in the sixth, when Danny Salazar worked a scoreless frame out of the bullpen. It was his first appearance since Sept. 9 after he suffered an elbow injury.

Cleveland finally got a hit off Arrieta in the bottom of the sixth, when Kipnis drove one up the middle. Christopher Kamka of CSN Chicago put the starter’s performance into historical context:

Kipnis advanced to third on Francisco Lindor’s groundout and scored on a wild pitch from Arrieta. Cubs manager Joe Maddon removed his starter from the game after he allowed a hit to Napoli, and Montgomery ended the rally by inducing a groundout.

Chicago had the opportunity to break things open in the seventh with bases loaded and one out for Bryant, but Dan Otero entered for the Indians and retired the potential National League MVP with a fielder’s choice. He got Rizzo out as well and kept Cleveland within striking distance at 5-1.

The Indians threatened in the seventh with two runners on and two outs, but Montgomery struck out Carlos Santana. The Cubs reacted to the clutch performance on Twitter:

Montgomery also recorded two outs in the eighth but handed the ball to Chapman after allowing a hit to Napoli. The fireballer struck out Ramirez and sent the game to the ninth, where he retired the side to even the series.


What’s Next?

The Cubs have the opportunity to win the series at home with Games 3, 4 and 5 all at Wrigley Field, but all Cleveland has to do is win one road game to get home-field advantage back.

Game 3 is Friday, and Chicago will send Cy Young Award candidate Kyle Hendricks to the mound. He finished the season with a 2.13 ERA and 0.98 WHIP and pitched a gem against Clayton Kershaw in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series with 7.1 scoreless innings and just two hits allowed.

The Indians will counter with Josh Tomlin, who posted a 4.40 ERA and 1.19 WHIP during the regular season. He has been better in his two postseason starts with just three earned runs in 10.2 innings.

While Chicago has the advantage on paper with the pitching matchup in Game 3, Cleveland has Kluber looming for Game 4 and possibly Game 7 if the series goes the distance. All it would take is one win with someone else on the mound at Wrigley to swing that advantage the Indians’ way.


Postgame Reaction

Cleveland manager Terry Francona underscored just how cold it was Wednesday, via the Indians:

He also talked about Schwarber’s performance, per Jon Morosi of MLB Network: “He’s really good. I can see why Theo sent a plane for him. I would have, too.”

Schwarber put things in perspective, per CSN Chicago’s Cubs Talk: “This is the moment you dream of as kids: Playing in the World Series and winning.”

He was also asked if he will play in Games 3-5 when there is no designated hitter and said, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, “We’ll see where it goes. Nothing set in stone.”

Dexter Fowler responded to the realization the Cubs won their first World Series game since 1945, per Gonzales: “Y’all talk history. We’re just trying to make it.”

Chicago is three wins away from doing just that.

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