Cleveland Indians Will Head to World Series Game Seven

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Nov 1, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall (8) and center fielder Tyler Naquin field a ball hit by Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell (not pictured) in the first inning in game six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 1, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall (8) and center fielder Tyler Naquin field a ball hit by Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell (not pictured) in the first inning in game six of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs will play a seventh game in the World Series, with the winner taking home the championship.

It would be easy to write about the sky falling after the Cleveland Indians lost Game Six of the World Series to the Chicago Cubs. It would take very little effort to invoke all of the old, tired Cleveland sports cliches that invoke choking, the sports gods hating the city, and anything bad happening ultimately taking place after seeing a 9-3 defeat. But that is not what this little article is about.

Yes, the Indians got it handed to them on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

Kris Bryant hit a first inning home run for Chicago after Tribe starter Josh Tomlin had breezed through the first two hitters on five pitches, and was followed by singles from Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist.

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Cleveland’s fate was sealed next, just six batters into the game, when an Addison Russell routine fly ball fell in between Lonnie Chisenhall and Tyler Naquin in right-centerfield. The Cubs went up 3-0, and made it 7-0 in the third when Russell hit a grand slam.

The Indians scratched out a couple of runs, chasing Chicago starter Jake Arrieta from the game after 5.2 innings in which he struck out nine. But more than what they scored, we saw life from the Tribe when most teams would have packed it it, taken their whooping, and regrouped for the next day.

Jason Kipnis had a three-hit night. Jose Ramirez scorched the ball three times, though only one resulted in a hit, and that one came off Aroldis Chapman. Danny Salazar, the forgotten man on the pitching staff after his September forearm injury, tossed two scoreless innings and struck out four.

And despite losing two straight for the first time in these playoffs, there’s little reason to count Cleveland out in Game Seven. We’ll surely hear plenty of jokes about karma, and how fans around Northeast Ohio were relentless in reminding the world that the Golden State Warriors blew a three games to one lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals in June. But look at what the Indians have going for them…

Corey Kluber will be starting Game Seven. Thus far in the World Series, the 30-year old right-hander has thrown 12 innings of one-run ball against the Cubs, and only three runs overall in 30.1 innings of work in the postseason, which has been good for a ho-hum 0.89 earned run average.

The Tribe will also have a full complement of rested relievers in Cody Allen, Andrew Miller, and Bryan Shaw just in case Kluber’s second short rest start of the series isn’t as sharp as the first two. That trio has thrown 13 innings allowing just one run in this series.

On the other side, Chicago manager Joe Maddon inexplicably put Chapman in the game with a big lead for 1.1 innings, right on the back of his eight-out save in Game Five. Not that the fireballer won’t be available in Game Seven, but he won’t be as fresh.

And Cleveland will have the home crowd. The same crowd that has seen the club win 58 games at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario between the regular and postseasons. The people that have been filling the stadium and the Gateway Plaza outside throughout October, who have proudly worn Tribe gear around the region and the country for the past month, and have believed in the impossible.

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Cleveland has overcome injuries. Cleveland has overcome the expectations of every baseball analyst and media outlet throughout the playoffs. Cleveland has overcome a 52-year championship drought as a city. Is one more game really that much for the Indians and their fans to endure?

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