It’s November 1st and the Cubs are still playing baseball. Game 6 of The World Series is tonight (7:08pm CDT) in Cleveland and it will be more baseball weather than football weather for the next two days.
The Cubs trail 3-2 in the best-of-seven series and face a tall task in Cleveland.
Jake Arrieta is starting and the Cubs will receive a boost with Kyle Schwarber back in the lineup at designed hitter. Terry Francona is going with right-hander Josh Tomlin on short rest.
Joe Maddon said Monday during his conference call for Game 6 that he is a “big fan of the NL style of play” but in order to get Schwarbs in the lineup he will take the American League game right now.
The Cubs are looking to become the first team since Willie Stargell’s ‘We Are Family’ Pirates in 1979 to win games six and seven on the road to take The Series. If the Cubs are able to win Tuesday and force a Game 7, Joe Maddon’s Cubs would have a chance to become the seventh team in history to win games six and seven on the road to capture a World Series Championship.
The bottom line for the Cubs … Win Tuesday.
Joe Maddon announced Monday that Willson Contreras will start Game 6 and catch Jake Arrieta.
Contreras was behind the plate in Game 2 for Arrieta’s start at Progressive Field. The Cubs are looking for a similar, if not better, outing from Arrieta that they received six days ago. Arrieta took a no-hitter into the sixth inning after a shaky start. Arrieta gave up one run on two hits with three walks and six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
The Cubs believe Contreras will control the Indians running game and will be able to settle down at the plate and hit like he did in the NLDS and NLCS.
Look for David Ross and Miguel Montero to stay in Contreras’ ear throughout the game. Contreras will have to navigate Arrieta through the biggest start of his career and produce offensively while being diplomatic with Joe West. The veteran umpire is behind the plate for Game 6.
The breather Monday should have helped Willson Contreras get back on track after he tried too hard for the three games at Wrigley.
The Cubs offense has been inconsistent, at best, this postseason. As was the case in the regular season, when Dexter Fowler is getting on base the Cubs’ offense goes.
The Cubs won three straight against the Dodgers when Fowler started getting on base. Fowler had two hits and scored at least one run in games four, five and six of the NLCS.
The Cubs need for Fowler to be Fowler in Game 6, and hopefully Game 7. Fowler is only 4-for-20 in the first five games of The Series with a double, a home run and no walks.
Joe Maddon reminds Fowler as ‘You go, we go.’ And if Dexter Fowler is able to get going, the Cubs will play two more games this year.
Joe Maddon said Monday that Jon Lester would be available out of the pen for Game 6. And if there is a Game 7, Lester would also be an option in relief of Kyle Hendricks.
Willson Contreras will start Game 6 behind the plate. Contreras would also figure to catch Hendricks if the Cubs are able to force a Game 7.
If Maddon goes to Lester, David Ross would be his catcher based on what Maddon said Monday.
News and Notes
• Kyle Schwarber is X-factor for Cubs in Game 6 according to the Tribune. The Sun-Times asked if one week in July could determine the outcome of this World Series. According to Comcast SportsNet, Kyle Schwarber has another chance to add to his legend.
• Jake Arrieta is not putting added pressure on himself as Cubs look to force Game 7 according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Comcast SportsNet explained why the Cubs made the high-risk, high-reward play to build around Javier Baez.
• During his conference call Monday, Joe Maddon said he would check Tuesday with Aroldis Chapman about his availability for Game 6. Maddon is unlikely to push Chapman as far in Game 6 according to the Tribune after he threw 42 pitches in Game 5 on Sunday night. Maddon thinks Chapman could be available for two innings. The Cubs will take whatever Chapman can give them according to Maddon. With the work Jon Lester, Carl Edwards Jr. and Aroldis Chapman turned in Sunday, all of the other Cubs relievers “are fresh” and ready to go for Game 6.
• According to FanGraphs, Joe Maddon Terry Francona’d Aroldis Chapman.
• The Cubs will not host a watch party at Wrigley Field for either Game 6 or if there is a Game 7. A report from Paul Sullivan indicated otherwise Monday before the Cubs officially put an end to the speculation. Julian Green said the Cubs decided “early on not to host watch parties during postseason away games and that decision has not changed.” The Indians had watch parties at Progressive Field during the three games that were played at Wrigley and had more than 67,218 fans show up for three days.
• The Cubs defense rebounded nicely in Game 5 with aide of Anthony Rizzo’s circus catch according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Comcast SportsNet explained how Anthony Rizzo predicted Kris Bryant’s MVP season.
• Kyle Schwarber had an impact on Jorge Soler and taught him how to deal with playing in cold weather according to the Sun-Times.
• Championship City? Really, Cleveland? The Tribe has long way to go to beat the Cubs according to the Sun-Times.
• The Tribune reported the Cubs received a Halloween break before Game 6 of The World Series.
• The Cubs got back to being the Cubs according to FanGraphs.
• Pat Hughes and Tom Hamilton talked about calling this historic World Series with Sports Illustrated.
• With the World Series playing into November, Matt Eddy pointed out Minor League free agency was pushed back to the week of Nov. 7.
• Click here to see the Cubs-inspired cleats Vikings’ receiver Laquon Treadwell wore on Monday Night Football.
• Chip Caray thanked the Cubs on Twitter “for an amazing Vedder/Caray duet” for the stretch in Game 5 on Sunday at Wrigley. Caray called it “amazing.”
• Danny Ecker reported the Cubs 2016 online merchandise sales were seven times higher than two years ago and five times the league average this season.
This Day in Cubstory
2010 – Cubs granted free agency to Xavier Nady
2008 – Cubs granted free agency to Daryle Ward
2004 – Cubs granted free agency to Moises Alou and Kent Mercker
2002 – Cubs granted free agency to Jon Lieber and Fred McGriff
1999 – Cubs named Don Baylor the team’s manager
1999 – Cubs granted free agency to Bobby Ayala
1995 – Cubs granted free agency to Jaime Navarro
1988 – Mark Grace finished behind the Reds Chris Sabo for National League Rookie of the Year
1982 – Cubs granted free agency to Ken Kravec
1976 – Cubs granted free agency to Steve Stone
1944 – Cubs selected Len Rice from the Reds in the Rule 5 Draft
1938 – Bill Lee was runner-up for the National League MVP