Man, does that one sting.
We all knew about the history behind the game. The two biggest droughts facing off for everything. A game with those stakes just wouldn’t have felt right had it not gone more than 9 innings. And the game itself was unbelievable. 10 different pitchers, a late game-tying homer, wild pitch runs, and a 9th inning rain delay barely begin to describe the amount of action and drama that occurred last night.
Corey Kluber, the consistent ace of Cleveland’s rotation, struggled on his second short rest outing of the series (4 IP, 4 ER). More importantly, the normally active hitters Jason Kipnis, Mike Napoli, and Francisco Lindor couldn’t pray for a hit to bail out their tired bullpen (combined 15 AB, 1 H).
Kyle Schwarber and Dexter Fowler were slugging machines, and even our old pal David Ross cleared the Progressive Field wall on Tribe relief pitcher Andrew Miller. Miller pitched an impressive 27.2 innings this postseason, allowing only 3 earned runs and striking out 40 batters. Two of those earned runs occurred last night.
When Chapman began to show signs of inaccuracy, the Indians’ best opportunity to snatch a comeback victory was in the bottom of the 9th. Kipnis just couldn’t find his pitch, and Lindor popped out on the first ball thrown to him. Chicago fought through the inning and then went on the attack following the short but untimely rain delay.
So that’s another season in the books. Congratulations, Chicago. Nearly the whole world had your back, so nice job fighting through to the end. As for Cleveland, there may not be a World Series headed to Ohio for the 69th straight year, but with a healthy rotation, a solid group of returning young players, and the greatest manager in baseball, the future looks bright.
See you in April, Major League Baseball.